In the past couple of years I have had the distinct privilege or the unfortunate circumstance of DNF'ing in multiple races. I have a DNF'd at the Afton 50k two years in a row and now the Superior 50
Why a privilege? When I have DNF'd it's a reminder that the races I do are not easy and you can't just phone it in by showing up. For shorter races I can do that. My times may not be good but I can get to the finish line.
Why an unfortunate circumstance? Failure sucks and not finishing always feels like a failure even if the reason for the DNF is a good one.
Why did I DNF at these events? At Afton, I started the races injured and made the choice to drop at the 25k point as the injuries were getting worse. Probably the right call but I still have regrets and at times wish I had tried to push through the pain. So my question is it ok to wear the Afton shirts? They are given out at the start not at the finish so I have worn them but I always flinch when I put them on, as I feel I am non deserving.
This year when I was given the sweatshirt at the Superior 50, I felt great to receive one. It was the event I had most wanted to do for the year and my decision to drop at Afton was part so that I could get healthy for this event. When my day fell apart with injuries and I wasn't able to maintain the required pace and missed the cutoff, I felt like a failure. When I look at the sweatshirt I don't feel that I am deserving to wear it and have yet to do so.
Am I wrong with my attitude for either Afton and Superior? Why do I view them differently? i know the answer to that, I knew going into Afton I was injured and I chose to try to run versus not running. So when the pain got intense I allowed myself to drop. I know that part of my thinking has been that I have finished the 50k there so it's ok to acknowledge both failure and success and that by wearing the shirts I am simply advertising the event and my participation in it.
At Superior, I went into it with a few issues, training and some back pain but it was different than Afton. I was running fine until I rolled my ankle but since I didn't collapse, I simply have viewed the issues that followed as weakness in myself. It's possible that I did well to make it as far as I did but to me I went there with the intent to finish the race and I did not get it done.
So I guess for consistency I should either quit wearing the Afton shirts or I should view the Superior sweatshirt as a participation sweatshirt and feel like I can wear it. Am I the only one who struggles with this?
Regardless, my primary goal for 2011 will be to finish both events.