Prepared to play checkers, but the game was chess.

I hesitate to even write a blog post Snowdrop as if my inner struggle to not hit a goal should in any way outshine others who fought their asses off to finish their goals.

The truth is that I do expect myself to hit my goals everytime and when I dont it isnt something I take lightly. For me it isnt a well i didnt feel good or a it wasnt my day type of approach. Its never going to be “your” day when you do endurance events and nothing will ever be perfect when you are in the fight. The reason most of us do them is so that we get challenged and we get to play the game.

So before I start my blog on getting beat let me congratulate every person out there that started, ran, hit their goals, volunteered, supported and was part of the Snowdrop Ultra 55. It was my pleasure to see so many amazing folks killing it while I was out there and I was stoked all weekend to see yall getting buckles and finishing what you started.

Despite what people say when the dont finish something. I quit. That sucks.. Its one part anger, 2 parts heartbreaking and a few parts of shaking my head trying to figure out the dismantling.

For me frustration lies in the fact that my knee which has plagued me so bad wasnt the culprit of my demise. It was an odd day from the start for me as a person as I was really uncomfortable from the start. I didnt feel great but I was essentially having chafing issues from the get go and couldnt figure them out. By mile 10 i was having some pain despite pre lubing and lubing every hour there until mile 10. By mile 20 I had switched shorts and shirts with another lube job.

For me in these first 20 miles I felt lost completely emotionally. Its hard to explain but I know in my mind that I have to keep walking because Im not going to magically going to make up time. Its the comments from people saying that I should smile or arent you having fun Rob? But im not having fun.. I am trying to figure out this incredible discomfort while thinking of what to do next. As much as I was trying to feel there I was not.

Mile 25 i was switching to longer compression with a different creme to try to maintain it all util 45 which was my day 1 goal. From mile 25-30 i felt like my nether regions were on fire and as i decided to take another break at 30 all i could feel was the trickle of blood coming down legs.. I decided for me trying to go home quickly and figure this out was my only option as i was 10 hours into it. I went home, bathed, wrapped both things in gauze and other regions took a quick nap to try and get my thighs some dry time. I was back out of the house at 10:30 and restarted just before 11:30.. A few miles in and i could feel the blood start to roll… I remember sitting in the chair thinking that I had to try something else. There has to be something i can do other than this because honestly, my legs burned like fire.. So i decided to try and run the cement portions of the loop and walk the trail. I wanted to just to do something other than walk in the hopes that it would change my stride or something.. I havent run in probably 2 years on concrete but I was smiling as the 11 min mile pace felt like home and my legs seemed to be okay.. The running felt okay and the walking felt like hot pokers in every region of my crotch.. And after the 5th mile of this, I knew that either the chafing might get me or my knee would start swelling from trying to run. An hour later both were knocking at the door. My right knee started swelling from running and my legs were now being lubed with my own blood/sweat. I sat down and chatted I even did a couple loops with a friend just to keep trying to figure the puzzle out. But in the end i felt as lost as I did from mile 5. Even writing this blog makes me thing what the fuck happened to me? How did this all go so wrong so fast and I cant really believe that It was all over so fast.

I couldnt have imagined this would be the end of my day. It really sucked to see all my friends still grinding, know I wouldnt see my kids pictures on that course again and realize that those amazing 6 folks in our pack I wouldnt be part of next year. But at the end of the day I ran out of mental ways to keep going in the battle. So I quit.  I told Kevin and Trish that i loved them, i hugged Santiago on one of his loops and I excused myself from the race course.

As with anything you quit at least for me I have to stay quiet as I can and dive deep into trying to learn the game better. Quitting things that you care about hurts and if it dosent than you probably didnt really care. The fun part of endurance is that I felt like coming in I was ready for the 1-2 punch all day and got hit with shots I never saw coming. But For each person like myself who quit there were hundreds who found a way to manage their days and get to the 100 mile mark or longer. I have been really fortunate the past 4 years to find those ways but this year I failed in that attempt.

But the silver lining for me is this. I got to run a few small sections with Vic 200. While we didnt run fast and we didnt run far it made me smile. It made that pain go away for maybe 2 min at a time and I remember how much fun Snowdrop was the first 2 years when I could run the whole time and play the game. I have been resigned the past 2 years to just walking it and being at the mercy of the day. Those few minutes of running made me very hungry to come back post knee surgery and get to jog it with my friends rather than hike it all.

I prepared for checkers and the day dealt me the game of chess.

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