Western States….running edition
|July 2, 2015||Posted by Melinda under Uncategorized|
I went and watched part of the Western States Endurance Run last weekend (equivalent to the Tevis for non-horsey people) and it was a lot of fun.
Much like vet school seemed safely far away when I decided to apply as part of a 3-5 year plan, WSER has seemed like a nice safe long term goal until recently.
Funny how the years pass when you are obliviously and determinedly completing the initial steps towards a big goal. Before you know it, the initial work is done and it’s time to start actually doing the hard things – the things that you thought you would have plenty of time to get used to by the time you actually had to DO them.
Like picking a qualifying run next year. YEEEP.
So many people sign up and qualify for WSER that you get in through lottery (or by winning certain races which will never ever ever happen to this girl here).
The first year you qualify you get one ticket. If you don’t get in and you qualify the next year….your tickets double. The most tickets I saw a participant get in with this year was 32…meaning they had qualified for seven consecutive years before getting their ticket drawn.
If I wasn’t pregnant I would have attempted to run my first 100K or 100 miler race this year so that I could start my WSER ticket accumulation (and hope that I didn’t actually get in for another 2-3 years).
This probably would have been a BAD idea since I have a track record of getting injuried and then off for 1-2 years if I don’t take an easy year after jumping up my distance and speed significantly. Enter pregnant but uninjuried Mel – the perfect recipe to not let myself slip into poor decision making such as doing that 100k or 100 mile too soon.
So, I’ll be trying to qualify NEXT year (2016), which will get me a ticket into the 2017 lottery. Getting picked that first year would be a special sort of disaster, but the odds are NOT in my favor to get picked, so I’m hoping to be set up nicely to run it in 2019 or 2020.
Big goals like Tevis, going to vet school, running 100 miles are all achievable – and they all start by doing what you are capable of doing right now and then watching how those small decisions add up over the next 3-5 years.
Yes, luck plays a part in how successful I’ve been over the years in achieving some of my dreams, but I want to emphasize how many daily small choices go into those dreams too.
It isn’t crazy for me to be talking about this while pregnant – it’s the way you achieve your dreams. Knowing I want to run this race in 4-5 years helps me decide all sorts of things TODAY that will make it possible for me to actually do it.
- What types of jobs I will apply for – local versus commuting, little money versus more money, flexibility in schedule, part time versus full time, which shifts are available.
- What loans I will take out – buy a motorhome? pay for vehicles with cash only? Buy a house here or somewhere else or continue to rent?
- What kind of schedules and habits I want to establish now after birth – full, part time or no daycare? Force myself to get up and run in the mornings? In the evenings after bedtime? During my lunch hour in order to maximize sleep? How does my husband or family feel about babysitting for non-work related stuff like going for a long run or attending a race? Do I need to save for a jogging stroller? How will my family be involved in my running? Or is this a solo activity?
- Where I board my horse – close or far? expensive or cheap? Convenient for riding or for some other aspect like trails or farrier/vet services?
All these decisions are intertwined, and if I’m not careful I could find myself in a place where it would literally BE IMPOSSIBLE to make my dream happen. However, but keeping my goal in mind now, I can try to make sure that dream stays possible.
Every single dream and major life change I’ve done so far has required similar questions and preparation.
At this point, I’m already wincing at what I anticipate will be the comments and facebook chatter about this post.
I think the biggest hurdle to being able to achieve dreams is other people’s limitations and expectations being placed on the dreamer. I wrote about my thoughts on this subject here. Please please PLEASE read it if you haven’t before.
I don’t write about this to be mean or to insult those of you that are itching to leave me a comment about how I don’t know how time consuming and draining it is to be a parent, or how you are skeptical that a reality exists where my dreams are achievable.
Here’s the problem – life in an individual experience. Your guess at what it’s like to be a vet student or veterinarian in *my* life is as imperfect as my guess at what it’s like to be a parent in *your* life. My predictions for what you will or will not accomplish given a certain circumstance are guesses at best, even if I’ve lived a similar circumstance.
The wonderful and terrible thing about life is this individuality. No one can tell you with any certainty how you will experience it. Before running my first 50 miler, I had some good guesses what I should pack in my 45 mile drop bag based on other’s advice and doing lots of reading….but no one could tell me exactly what I would want or need before I had actually run 45 miles and arrived there, for the first time (the answer by the way is half of a large pepperoni pizza, a wind breaker, headlamp, and a change of socks). I think one of the most important lessons of life is to share experiences and advice where appropriate and asked for, but never fool yourself into thinking you know enough to try to live someone else’s life for them by trying to make it look like your own.
As I look back over the last 10 years, that is where my biggest regrets lay – not tempering my own advice and predictions I gave to other people, for what they actually are: 100% valid only for myself since they were born out of my individuality in this life.
(and please – don’t let this diatribe keep you from making comments – I LOVE comments OK? And I love the advice and experiences you guys share here and on your own blogs. I just needed to get some of this off my chest and now I’m much more likely to be able to politely smile and nod for a while at the people who continue to make dire predictions, and hopefully this will remind me to NOT BE THAT PERSON TO MY FRIENDS’ DREAMS. Because sometimes I am. And that is shameful).
END OF SOAPBOX
I’m super curious whether running “Tevis” is harder, easier, or just different from riding it. Because so far riding any particular distance has been WAY harder then running it. Hopefully I get to find out! If not, then I’ll just have to enter Tevis and *run most of it to satisfy that curiosity :).
*which would be exponentially harder since runners get 30 hours to finish (special buckle to people who do it in under 24) with no mandatory holds. With a horse you only get 22 hours of trail time because of 2 hours of mandatory holds, plus all those pesky gate and goes reduce potential trail travel time even further….meaning if I was going to strictly run it I’d have to finish in 21 hours or less! :o.