Learning to let go…The Barkley Fall Classic (or My Major Dilemma)

“You can’t play soccer, you’re a girl!  Girls don’t play sports!” I still remember hearing this from a neighbor in elementary school.  Not moments later the boy was on the ground crying, I  had pushed him down.  I cringed that I had let the older boy get the better of me. (I knew pushing wasn’t the way to solve things) But also secretly proud that I didn’t run away crying like I had wanted, deep down.

Similar Encounters followed me through middle school and high school, and even sometimes now, though I no longer pushed people down.  No matter how fast I was, or how good at soccer I was, there was always someone saying, “you can’t do that, you’re a girl.”  Or, “when are you going to stop running so much and start “being a woman.”  (whatever that means…)

I pride myself on being a strong, smart, competitive woman, even if I am quite slight physically.  I dream big and hate taking no for an answer just because I don’t fit into a stereotype for my interest; ultra trail running.

Currently I am at odds with my competitive-inner-being.  Usually I let her roam free during races, I try to reign her in just enough so I can at least pace myself thought out the whole race, but shes always there, trying to pick off runners, trying to better her time….this time, however, I may actually have to chain her up.

I have been signed up for Grindstone 100 for two years…that’s right, two years! It was cancelled last year, so I signed up again this year and am bound and determined to do as well as I possibly can.  All of my training, all of my racing, all of my summer plans I have kept this race in the back of my mind.  Until, that is, FOMO took over one day.  For those of you unfamiliar with this little demon he lives on my shoulder (maybe his kin live on your shoulders?) and tells me I CAN’T miss out on any runs, races, or anything trail related my friends are doing.

This summer he made me sign up for the Barkley Fall Classic.   5 of my friends were going, Laz totally intrigues me, and this was a challenge that I was ready to accept!  (Ugh, I let Gridstone slip out of my mind for one second..) BFC is a mere 13 days out from Grindstone.  Now I am stuck with a dilemma.

The boys have begun taunting again, “no women will finish, no women are good enough…”  I know in my heart I could finish, and by doing so I could save all womankind! 😉 However, then GS100 would be compromised.  Even if I was mostly recovered, that still isn’t as good as perfectly tapered.

You can’t imagine the mental turmoil going on inside of me right now, well maybe you can.  A month ago I told my friends I would be DD, because I was planning on taking it easy, that I would give myself a certain time limit, one that I would limit myself to on a real taper run, and then drop.  DROP?!  How could I forget that its against my whole being, everything I thought I was as a runner. I have never, ever dropped out of a race.  I think the only time I ever dropped out of any sport was when I broke my nose and cheekbone and was pulled off the soccer field.  I ALWAYS finish what I start.

What do you all do when this happens?

I guess I will find out in a few days what I do…


6 responses to “Learning to let go…The Barkley Fall Classic (or My Major Dilemma)

  1. 13 days! Yowza. That is not much of a recovery. Then again, YOLO?

    • Oh ya, YOLO…and therein lies my dilemma, drop? finish slow? race?

      • IMO, race. But race conservatively. Extra slow start. Extra time at aid stations. And probably no running over those 13 days. With that being said, I think it can be done.

      • Thanks Jason! My mantra for this is going to have to be “go slow, don’t forget Grindstsone”

      • Rachel, I am so glad to have met you in Turks & Caicos!! I absolutely love reading your blogs/articles, etc. So inspiring and motivating. Hopefully one day I can get pass 26.2 miles 😀

      • Patricia, Its so good to hear from you…and I LOVE hearing just what you wrote! I aim to inspire, your note makes me smile! You’ll get there! (besides the whole fun of ultra running is you pick beautiful destinations and the cut off times allow for walking and taking in the views!)

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