Live The Dash

          Its been months since my first entry and though I can easily say that I’ve been working;  the truth of the matter is that I’ve been working on myself and success is a generally slow process.  As with any Ultra Run, there’s a lot of ground to cover and so I’ll get started.  If you’ve read my first entry, you know that my first Ultra Marathon was Brazos Bend 50 (April 2018) put on by Trail Racing Over Texas (TROT).  Thereafter, I completed a few more Ultras in preparation for my first 100 Mile attempt at the Brazos Bend 100 (December 2018).  Brazos Bend boasts the flattest and fastest trail race in Texas.  Personally I love this course and because it was the site of my first Ultra, I will always have a special connection to it.  Of course, as much as I would love it to be, this story isn’t all Goodrs and Hammer Gels.

          2018 Brazos Bend 100 was to be my first 100 Mile attempt AND completion.  I DNF’d (Did Not Finish).  Mentally, as much as I wanted to complete this, physically my body was screaming “NO!” as sternly as a spoiled teenager.  It was the hardest thing to walk away from on two different levels.  Level one, I was demoralized.  Incomplete tasks are not my thing, and this fit the mold perfectly.  The phrase “so close, yet so far away” is the best analogy to sum up my DNF’d race.  I was leaving the run with one lap left to complete, but one lap is 16.8 miles!  On the second level, I physically – could – not – leave.  I sat at my camp site for about 15 minutes after the 5th lap and my body stiffened up.  I couldn’t stop shivering, I couldn’t chew food, I couldn’t get out of my chair and when I finally did, I couldn’t walk.  Without exaggeration, it took me about 10 minutes to walk to the car and about another 15 minutes to get into the hotel room (all of this with the aid of my wife).  Each step was more agonizing than the last.  When I finally made it, I sat in a hot shower and dry-heaved uncontrollably until I finally made it to the bed.

          Finishing the 2018 Brazos Bend 100 is the best thing that NEVER happened to me!  That experience lead me to where I am today.  I could have taken my loss and stepped away from running at that point, and I don’t think anyone would’ve blamed me.  Instead, I chose to dissect my experience and learn from it.  Sometimes we can work so hard, be so prepared and yet disappointments may still happen.  In the wake of my DNF, people reached out to congratulate me (on my attempt), to give encouraging words, and their advice.  The simplest, most self-explanatory yet pragmatical advice came from my mom.  “We learn through trial and error, and that’s what you just did.  You know what you want, but nothing’s free.  It takes time and effort, so get to work.”

         At that point, one second became more than a small increment of time.  Even though time is not a tangible thing, we are constantly losing it!  Seconds turn into minutes, minutes into hours, hours to days, months and eventually years.  In those seconds, we are either gaining ground (on our goals) or we are losing it.  Be smart with your time and don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.  On our gravestones there will be two dates; the day we are born and the day we die, period.  In between those dates will be a hyphen; that hyphen represents your life!  I’m not telling you to “live each day like it’s your last because one day you’ll be right.” I’m simply suggesting that we do what we need to in order to highlight, bold, and italicize our own respective dash (life).

          Its inevitable that we are going to fail at something.  We are going to incur defeats, disappointments, pain, and setbacks but those are all steps to success.  Thus far in my running career, I’ve discovered things about myself that I didn’t know before.  I discovered that I compared myself to other runners far too often; and in doing so, I was never satisfied with my own success.  I discovered that even in the face of defeat, I was able to motivate and inspire others, to spread the joy of running, (and through this blog) share my personal running experiences.  I’ve learned to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.  Endurance running is a beast and the best views are always at the top; but you’ve got to go through it – to get to it.  As of January 2020, I “highlighted my dash” by becoming a newly sponsored athlete with Hammer Nutrition (photo below).  Thank you Hammer for believing in my abilities as an athlete and for supporting this journey to accomplish my goals.  I know that I’m not finished yet, and I appreciate all the things that are molding a better me.  I still have a lot to learn and many more miles to run.  That being said, break time is over….back to work.

LuisReyes_SPA2020

Highlighting the Dash: Hammer Nutrition Sponsored Athlete Photo

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