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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Gobi Desert: Retribution

A "payback" of sorts is often viewed as tangibly getting what you are working toward. In this race and in sport in general, my view of a payback is usually to cross the finish line, or push a training session knowing I gave it my best shot. Absolute best. Nothing less.

In reality, in any kind of performance, that is ultimately our only option – give it our best shot. Throw it all down. If we’re honest about what that looks like, to ourselves, we can sleep well at night. How other people view our efforts isn’t about us. That’s their shit. Lay it all down for yourself and you will be a satisfied human and live confidently in your skin.

Terri Schneider
The light at the end of the tunnel...
Photo Courtesy of Racing the Planet

Going into our final day of 14K of racing I was down from first place by about 13 minutes. Despite encouragement from racers/friends that I could still take the win; I knew that there was no way I could make up that full time is such a short distance. I also knew I had pushed very hard the day prior to make up just a few minutes. My legs were shot and my competitor wasn’t about to back down. So in evaluating desires of retribution for the time deficit from my "sick day" I realized my only option was to push myself as far as I could on our last day and see what I came up with. Let go of the outcome and just hang it all out.

The thought of hanging it all out after five days of brutal racing through one of the harshest environments on the planet took on a dichotomous personality. Part of me wanted to crawl into a hole and sleep for a week and the other side was fighting mad at my dilemma and was itching for this last futile battle. The latter personality won. "She may take the win but I’m going to kick her ass on this last leg and enjoy ringing myself out doing it," was my battle cry.

Terri Schneider
Crossing the finish line...
Photo Courtesy of Racing the Planet

Oddly enough, the pointless furor deemed important enough for me to take out our 14K at the front of the pack. I felt light and fast at the start and like a freight train the stream of top runners flew down this narrow rocky canyon single track. For miles we glided over rock and stream, me intent on taking as much time out of my competitor as possible.

After several miles of downhill we hit a short up and flat section. Once we lost our downhill gravity advantage, I felt like I got hit by a truck and slowed to a crawl. I laughed out loud at the veritable death of my quads, but continued to push hard toward the finish in a remote and stunning village built into the surrounding craggy peaks.

My seemingly important grandiose effort won me several more minutes of time. After six days and 155 miles of some of the toughest terrain and conditions I've ever run, I was second place woman by a mere few minutes. Retribution feels sweet because I know my legs are so very, very done. Throw it all down and there is nothing more to give you satisfaction. Leave it all on the race course and there is nothing more to take except an empty backpack, some primally smelly clothes and a view of the world through a slightly more positive lens color. Ahh….

Back at you at home with closing thoughts.



Lindy said...

3 little keeps us going!

I am so amazed at your incredible attitude once again.


2:41 PM  
Life Unfolding said...

this is so inspiring! I am training for my first marathon in January! You go girl!

5:39 AM  
Gabs Lau said...

I am inspired to do this race next year look forward to hear your next race

9:11 PM  
Maura said...

LOL You probably scared the pants off the first place woman if she saw your face/determination. :) You are such a stud! Way to go!

2:34 PM  

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