This past weekend, I deactivated my Facebook account. It will probably be a temporary thing and I will no doubt be back, but I wanted a bit of a break.
It is a great tool for keeping in touch with people from the running community and friends around the world, but I was starting to feel that the negatives were outweighing the positives.
My only goal for 2014 is to complete the North Downs Way 100 and once again qualify for Western States. This is a huge challenge for me and I failed to finish last year. Whilst there are many ways to follow the sponsored elite athletes via their blogs or websites like iRunFar.com I found my Facebook was more focussed on runners like me or runners who are not elite, but have completed far more challenges than me.
And therein lies the problem. I found myself regularly chatting to people to whom a 100 mile race was the norm and not the exception. Proportionally amongst the general population or even within running circles, these guys are very rare, but where I had developed friendships over the last few years, these guys were the norm. It is by no means the only reason, but with a race as hard as a 100 miler, complacency that it is ‘normal’ and therefore regularly achievable potentially makes me underestimate the task at hand.
Initially, this was hugely positive because I had ‘real’ people, not just elites who had been there and I could talk to. But having joined a number of forums like the Ultrarunning Community on Facebook, it was easy to become complacent that these races are dreamt of, signed up for and completed.
I admire these runners hugely and some have become very good friends. I just need to prepare myself mentally before August that this is by no means a given, it is a monumentally hard challenge and I need to work myself to the bone physically and mentally to be in a position to take it on and finish. What these guys have given me is incredibly helpful and positive but recently I have found myself in circles talking about the same things over and over, and placing too little on the adventure that these races bring- which is why I got involved in the first place.
I need to feel intimidated by the race, but also know that I have prepared. Learning from how others did it is key, it’s just I need to know I can do it, not simply that the race can be completed by someone.
I have learnt a huge amount about ultras since first getting into the sport and I need to now use this rather than get involved in unnecessary debate about shoes and poles and compression gear. Whilst I have trained and worked hard over winter, I need to focus less on others and more on myself for the next few months so I don’t fail again.
Until I come back to Facebook, please do drop me a line via the blog or to my email firstname.lastname@example.org