This is going to be a tough one to write. Races like this peel back the layers and let you know what you're really made of. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it's not something you want to see, but if you don't see it how can you fix it?
This is the first year that I have dropped out of the Arrowhead 135 due entirely to my own weakness of will. Actually I might be the only person who didn't have a good reason to drop this year.
Upwards of eight inches of snow (20 cm) during the race made everyone's race difficult. The bikers had to push rather than ride, the runners had to slog through it, but us skiers, it was our year. Actually I was in perhaps the best position of anyone there. I had skated the first half on classic race skis and when the snow started getting heavy I applied some grip wax and switched to classic technique. It was working great.
I had a really great first 75 miles. I arrived at Melgeorge's two hours ahead of where I had expected and feeling great. 75 miles (120 km) in less than 17 hours, but I squandered all of that. I started thinking. More specifically I got it in my head that I wasn't going to be able to finish. I thought to myself that there was no way I could do it. The challenges were too great. It was going to take me too long.
The thing is I have done it. I walked for 56 hours through -40 degree cold to finish in 2010. This would have been easy compared to that. Of course it wouldn't have been easy, but as has been noted before we "don't do it because it's easy."
Somehow I managed to fool myself into thinking I couldn't make progress through the snow. The funny thing is that I was making good progress through the snow when I convinced myself of that. I was probably moving 3+ mph (5 kph) when I thought that. That's a lot better than a finishing pace.
As you can probably tell I'm pretty bummed out about it. I really regret having dropped, but there's nothing I can do about that anymore. That's in the past. I have to move on and prepare for the next thing. As I said to another skier who dropped, sometimes you need a setback to remind you why you do these things.
7 months ago