Finishing an ultra always comes with an immense sense of satisfaction. Hitting a finish line after many miles and hours out in God’s good creation on beautiful trails is an emotional experience. The sense of accomplishment is real and it just feels good. That sense is even greater when you return to a race that beat you up and dealt you failure in your previous attempt. My 2021 attempt at the Marquette Trail 50 was my first DNF and I’ve wrestled with it ever since. It wasn’t that this was a crushing blow to my ego or a defeat that tasted so bitter. I’m not really that kind of runner or person. I’m in this for the enjoyment, for the growth, for the learning and that DNF left me with so many questions. And yes, it did leave me with a desire to go back and finish what I started. That’s what brought me back, unfinished business.
In the end, I’ve reached a sense of contentment in saying my 2021 DNF at Marquette was due to a combination of three factors: (1) the hot weather of the day, (2) my quads being in an unusual pain due to the training effects of a medicine I was on, and (3) factors 1 & 2 exacerbating my concern of completely wrecking my legs before a trip with my brother to Isle Royale in the days following the race. I can live with my choices from that day and I accept what happened.