We all have one. At least one. And if you don't yet, you will. It will come. It’s like the chicken pox or the common cold – its inevitable... right?
Some people said I hadn’t yet because I wasn’t pushing my body far enough. That I wasn’t really pushing my mental or physical envelopes, and I didn’t know how far my body could take me because I hadn’t tried. Ultra Beast 2012? Back to Back to Back races and race weekends? Enough said.
It’s an elite club that a lot of people gain entry into in their first year of racing. Me? I escaped for four, going on five years – with exactly one exception before June 2015. Plenty of glorious years of racing without ever knowing what it felt like to have to say … I DNF’d.
Some days are good days, and some days are bad days. As an athlete, I’ve seen plenty of these come and go. Sometimes it's a race day and sometimes no matter how bad we want it to be a race day, it just isn’t. We can push our bodies, we can trick our minds, but when it comes down to it, sometimes we’re just not in the right set. Mind set. Physical set. Doesn’t matter. And I guess Saturday of Tuxedo Year Four was that day for me.
There are any number of excuses that I could blame this on. This calendar year has been a little tumultuous itself, between travelling for work, moving my personal and business life across the country, mental blocks that I’ve been training around, and just getting deeper into the depths of what it means to race competitively in this sport. I’ve been battling some health issues that decreased my training and increased my need to rest and recover. But this past Saturday? It just wasn’t my race day.
Anyone who knows me knows that East Coast races are my jam. It’s where I grew up. It’s where I started racing. And Tuxedo New York is my favorite race of the whole year (save Fenway Park, and maybe Citi Field). I have a long history here, Hurricane Heat included! Long travel day Thursday, long workday on Friday. Saturday was here before I knew it, and it was go time.
Saying hello to my fellow East Coast athletes and catching up on training and race stories with them at the start line has to be one of my favorite parts of racing. After a little banter, we’re off… up the first of many ascents on this damn NY ski mountain. Couple obstacles in, I can feel the heat setting in a little bit more. Couple miles later, the hay on that climb and the dust in the barbed wire combined in my lungs to create quite the force to be reckoned with.
“MEDIC! MEDICS OVER HERE!” In my head I’m thinking… Poor athlete, medical calls are thee worst! Hang in there! … Immediately followed by… why are they so close to me? Are they yelling for me?
Sure enough, I’m the one chatting up the EMTs about five minutes later, explaining to them that no – I’m not malnourished, my lungs and I just had a momentary lapse in communication. Asthma - 1 Shaun – 0. Well played, lungs.
As a surprise to no one, I was just short of fisticuffs when I finally got into the gator to be pulled from course. I’m the first to admit that I’m stubborn, but when it comes to my health I have to agree with the professionals SOMETIMES.
Thanks to Amphibious Medics and my Spartan Family and Friends, I finished my full work day and got back out on course for the sweep with some awesome friends of mine, with no ill-effects since (knock on wood).
And there ya have it. Just another day in the life of an OCR athlete just trying to enjoy what life has to offer. After a little R&R I’ll be right back out there, better than ever, just with a little notch in my belt for that DNF. Tuxedo 2016? You bet.
See you at the Finish Line!