Yesterday 18 year old Lucas Duross lined up for the weather altered 55km Tarawera Ultra. Full of confidence and talent to match, it is fair to say it was an excited young Lucas toeing the line. At 18.5km he was tied for the lead, but by 36km he had dropped back to 4th, and trailing by over 30mins. From there things only got worse for young Lucas, or so it would seem from his “result”. Below is a race report from a young fella I think we will see a lot more of in the future.
I could write up a story of how I ran too fast at the start, did not train specifically for the race profile and may have not had an ideal nutrition plan and so on.. However, not that I wish to dismiss those vital factors, I am sure that you have read many race reports long before mine came along, that would tell the exact same story. So, rather than repeat the words of thousands of runners before me, I would like to use this opportunity to talk about the importance of contrast and use comparisons from my race as examples.
Without contrast in our lives many things would not exist, without darkness there is no light, without death there is no life, without failure there is no success. Sure it would be amazing to achieve your goals every single time, but you have to ask yourself if success was guaranteed, would the value of success, be as great?
Would you recognise success, if you were always successful? Without the contrast of failure the value of success would be nothing. I learnt more in that seven and a half hours than I ever I did winning all of my races combined. I learnt the value of pacing myself, I learnt the value of specificity in relation to training and I learnt that the importance of finishing is far greater than winning.
Would I have learnt this if I had ran an amazing race? Would I have developed as an athlete if I had had ran an amazing race? What would have I learnt? Well, I guess you could say that I would have learnt what works! But for me, (who never does anything by halves) loosing gave me a far greater gift. The opportunity of self-analysis.
I had to walk the last 10km. The closer I got to the finish, the harder it became to walk – averaging 16 minutes per km. I knew my race was over. I was not going to achieve the result I wanted and every step was another hit to my recovery over the next two weeks.
For me, its moments like this that defines what it is to be human. From the lows, of literally dragging, myself to the finish line contrasting with the highs of flying down a trail feeling like your invincible. You lose all ego, all bravado and only then can you figure out why you enter events that you know will bring you pain.
To enter an ultra is like an entrance into the opportunity to be placed in a situation that 95% of people will never be put in- do I continue? Do I quit? What am I made off? Next time you find you self in a similar situation to mine just stop, smile and understand that when you signed up for this race 6 months ago some part of you wanted to see how you would cope when your body gives up and all you have left is your mind.
Dig deep, push through, don’t give up, because when the race is all over we return to our comforts our cars and our TV’s but you and only you will know that when it came to the crunch you did not give up, and that should be what defines you.