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Because I’m Always Striving to Better Myself (Or: Why Not Puking or Screaming at Elmo Are Worthy Race Goals)

by Carilyn on October 25, 2012

I’ve been trying to crystallize my goals for this weekend’s upcoming 100 miler (okay, that’s not entirely true, but I felt like a responsible runner would actually have some goals other than “Don’t get eaten by a Javelina”), but I’m finding it a little difficult. I really don’t have any “real” running goals for this race, and while I’m not above making things up to sound cool (“Of course I looooooove to eat snails!”; “Yes, I truly enjoyed Tree of Life. It was sooooooo compelling!”; or “I am absolutely a fan of minimalist poetry; it’s so sublime.”), I know y’all would see straight through my lies and then deride me on Twitter or smash the pumpkins on my front porch.

So, honesty has to be the best policy for this race. I’m doing this race because, frankly, I have nothing better to do (besides go to Santa Monica Pier, which ain’t gonna happen), I need a tune-up race before Desert Solstice 24 Hour in six weeks, and I know my race calendar has been a little light this year, which is making me feel bad about myself.

My friend, Jack, who is clearly psychic, said this about my goals when introducing me (via e-mail) to my pacer for the race:

Carilyn, what are your goals for the race (let me beat you to what you would have said: not die; finish in one piece and before the cut-offs; avoid snakes and javelinas; avoid dirt; avoid falling; did I forget any?)? 

** Note:  Jack did not type his e-mail in pink (although I wish more people would ’cause it would really jazz things up!).

Jack knows me oh, so well.

But I do have a few more goals to add to the list:

1. Don’t start crying before Mile 70. Yes, I tend to cry during races. I’m not proud of this fact, but I also cry at every Gerber baby commercial, Lifetime movie, and whenever Albert Brooks sings something in French while reading. And, just so you know, Love Story is my favorite movie. Don’t judge.

2. Make at least one knew friend. As chatty, and incredibly friendly, as I seem on this blog, when I race, I tend to be much more reserved. Basically, I usually spend 100 miles arguing with myself (You should just quit. No! I will not quit! Then stop crying, you big baby! Shut up! No, you shut up!), so I really don’t have any time to chat with the runners around me. Managing my multiple personalities during a race takes a lot of energy. But this race will be different. I will make a friend. (And then make him/her listen to the argument between my personalities – bwwwaaaaahaaahaaa!).

3. I will not puke. Like crying, puking seems to be the norm for me in long races. For this race, I am going to do everything in my power to keep my nutrition inside my body. No gels will be upchucked onto the trail by me!

4. I will not scream. In addition to crying and puking, I seem to always scream during long races. Because I’m primarily a looped-course road runner, I always zone out during runs (which explains why I ALWAYS get lost and fall down during trail runs/races), so I’m perpetually startled when something unexpected happens in a trail race. I have had the crap scared out of me by a cow during PCT50 (it looked like a bear!), a waist pack during Boulder 24 Hour (someone dropped it on the trail and I thought it was a BIG snake), a man coming out of a Port-a-Potty during Umstead 100 (come on, you know serial killers would hide in those things while waiting to get you!), and a small child wearing a Halloween mask during Labor of Love 50 (I’m sorry, but a 3 foot Elmo is very scary looking when you see him out of the corner of your eye in the middle of nowhere). In this race, I will not scream – unless I’m being stalked by a Javelina or a Yeti, and then all bets are off.

While these goals may not seem like much, they will be extremely difficult for me to reach, especially the not screaming one. But, like any worthy goal, I will do my best to meet it (and if I don’t, that may just be my little secret)!

Happy Running!



{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy Goodermote October 25, 2012 at 9:04 am

Love this blog! I will not cry on Saturday when I have to do 8 miles. Thanks for the comedy! GOOD LUCK and if you have to cry, puke or poop in the woods have fun!

Carilyn October 25, 2012 at 9:20 am

Thanks so much, Amy! That no crying thing is a tough one! Good luck! 🙂

Patrick October 25, 2012 at 10:39 am

You seem like an absolute joy to run with. I wish you could be my pacer at Kettle Moraine next year. I saw a “bear” a couple of times too so you are not alone. I should have screamed at it.

Carilyn October 25, 2012 at 11:06 am

If you ever race in my neck of the woods, Patick, I would be happy to pace you! I’ll be your official screamer! 🙂

Kate October 25, 2012 at 11:32 am

Patrick beat me to the story about his “bear”. Bummer. 🙁 At least YOUR bear was an actual live animal.

While I’m much more reserved in real life than I am on my blog, I do tend to make friends in races. It’s pretty rare for me to come home without having met someone…and then probably made them swear to do their next race more trained so that they’re able to get away from me next time instead of having to listen to me go on…and on…and on…

Carilyn October 25, 2012 at 11:41 am

I bet you are fun to race with, Kate! I will be channeling you this weekend (unless I’m screaming!) 🙂

Kirstin C (@ultrarunnergirl) October 25, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Have fun on the journey! Somehow, I know you will. Can’t wait to hear all about it!

Carilyn October 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Thanks, Kirstin! I hope it’s fun (and not just scary!) 🙂

Char October 25, 2012 at 3:05 pm

All incredibly worthy goals. Multiple personality disorder has to be rife amongst the running fraternity. And it’s running that seems to trigger an episode. I was only just saying to my cranky, narkier persona yesterday (while she was wanting me to push a cyclist that rode too close off his bike) that we only seem to get together after about 10k which is just as well because she’s a bit of a b*#ch and it’s not like I’d ever choose to have coffee with her. She suggested in kinda mean words that she really didn’t like me much either but to keep running so I took her advice.

So take the advice of my running ‘buddy’ this weekend – just keep running!

Carilyn October 25, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Perfect, Char! Maybe some day our multiple personalities can get together for a run! 🙂

olga October 25, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Saw your name on the start list a while back, smiled. Love the goals, don’t think you’ll get them all. Screaming is my fav because I do it every time I trip, stumble, hit a toe and so on. Puking – sure. Crying – absolutely! And a friend, well, I don’t know, an acquaintance, may be…

Carilyn October 25, 2012 at 8:00 pm

I’m just hoping to reach one of them, Olga, because we both know I will definitely be puking and crying 🙂

pensive pumpkin October 25, 2012 at 9:06 pm

I’ve taken to reading your posts aloud to Chevalier, who looks at me like I am insane and throws out “remember that time you thought we were being stalked by a mountain lion?”

We were being stalked by a mountain lion. If I close my eyes, I can still smell the thing. That was a beautiful trail, and if I go there again I am taking a freaking gun.


Carilyn October 26, 2012 at 5:17 am

Tell Chevalier that I’m sorry he’s having to suffer through these posts. My husband feels his pain 🙂

Vanessa October 26, 2012 at 8:35 am

OMG… 3 foot Elmo. Thanks, now I have new fodder for my hallucinations 😉 See you at JJ! (I’m crewing/pacing.. slightly less scary)

Carilyn October 26, 2012 at 9:16 am

So cool, Vanessa! See you there!

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