Sunday, October 24, 2010

Shirts and sweatshirts?

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.


Chris Swenke said...

For me personally I don't wear the shirt if I didn't finish the race. It harkens back to my concert days and friends that would wear the latest bands tour shirt they got from their older sister who went to the concert the night before. We all knew they didn't go and would often call them on it.

I understand the advertising angle but for me the shirt shows that I put in the training and met the challenge. To me it is a pseudo brotherhood that connects the finishers again when you see them out on the trail and avenue to start a conservation.

Maybe their should be a handful of DNF shirts given out. But I suppose these would get funneled quickly to the bottom of the t-shirt pile as well.

Here's to seeing you wear your Surf the Murph shirt.

Londell said...

Hell, in most cases you could buy the shirt, finish or not. I say that you paid more for it than any kids off the street. In addition, for Superior and Afton, as a volunteer I got the came shirt. I also have the Zumbro 100 jacket, as a volunteer, looks just like all the rest. So who cares, it is when it says FINISHER that it matters, otherwise, you are a part (either a runner or volunteer) so wear them with pride. Only a small percentage of America would have started or volunteered. YOU EARNED IT.

That is my thought...

Anonymous said...

I think you should give that Superior sweatshirt to your wife!

Love, Your Wife

Mike said...

Karyn - it's now yours.

Chris and Londell - thanks for the comments, I agree with both of you, hence my problem :-).


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