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  • Writer's pictureNick Klingensmith

When you're about to quit...

It's like I'm reliving a part of my own damn book.

It’s been a tough month. I DNF’d the Killington Ultra, missing the cut off by just a few minutes. Then, not a week later, my dog Cooper passed away.

DNF’ing the Ultra was a gut punch. I began losing focus, self-esteem, confidence, and maybe even my purpose. I visualized a very specific image for months. The race played out almost exactly as I saw it. I just didn’t live up to it.

Now with the loss of Cooper just days later, I am broken. Completely devastated. My heart that he grew three sizes left a crater now filled with gut wrenching pain, confusion, and sadness. He was my best friend. My first dog. My son, brother, partner in crime – my family for over 12 years. Nearly a third of my life and all his.

It all happened so fast. That Thursday, we walked the neighborhood and played with toys and wrestled like any other night. 15 hours later he was gone.This isn’t going to be one of those “use it as motivation” situations. I love him so much. There are no words to describe the hole that is left behind.

I’ve tried to run the past couple of days and fell flat. My heart just wasn’t in it. And so, I decided to defer my entry to the Chicago Marathon. I just don’t have the heart for it and if I don’t have heart, I don’t have anything.

But, then what.

Just a few weeks ago I wrote, “just take the next step. And whatever happens, happens.” I’m constantly shouting “Keep moving forward. If you stop here, you die here.” Then just prior to missing the cut off in the Ultra, I said “I would rather fail than quit.”

Now I have to live up to it.

Although my life purpose, personal development and overall happiness are deeply connected to this lifestyle, I’ve come to accept that no matter the metaphor, a race is just a race.

So maybe my heart won’t be in it. Maybe I won’t perform well, maybe I won’t try, maybe none of it will matter. But I can’t just quit.

Maybe it is just a race, but the metaphor is this: if I start quitting now, when does it end?

Is it OK to quit my job? My responsibilities as a husband? How about staying sober?

It’s just not a good time to start quitting things. It rarely ever is.

I’ll keep clawing my way forward until someone yanks my timing chip.

Just take the next step. And whatever happens next, happens next. See you on the other side.

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