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!

 

 

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