[00:00:00] I was raised on a poultry farm, actually, I’m from Saskatchewan and I grew up on a mixed grain and poultry farm, and so I knew it from more the kind of, I would say, business aspect of it. And so after after I graduated college and moved and I have a farm of my own now, my husband said to me, “Are we going to have chickens?” And I went, “Hell, no!” I say, I know, I know how much work they are. And no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. We’re not having chickens. We’re not having cows. Like, Hmm, no way.
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Jesse: [00:01:19] Welcome to the Smart Athlete Podcast. I’m your host, Jesse Funk. My guest today is a self-described ultramarathon Clydesdale back of the pack type runner. She is now coaching for back-of-the-pack cut-off chasers. And maybe most importantly, you know, she doesn’t live in the Midwest, but I do, and I feel like we’ve got some, some cultural connection here. She’s a chicken farmer. Welcome to the show, Sheri Donohue.
Sherri: [00:01:44] So thank you. Thank you very much for having me.
Jesse: [00:01:49] So, Sheri, let’s start with the ice breaker. Why do you raise chickens? You know, we before we got going, I was talking about how I know there are several neighbors in my area that raise chickens. I’m in the Midwest. You’re in Alberta. So for people who aren’t familiar, which includes me, I’m only tangentially familiar. What’s what’s up with the chickens? Is it an Alberta culture thing? Are you just a big chicken fan? How did they get started?
Sherri: [00:02:17] I was raised on a poultry farm. Actually, I’m from Saskatchewan and I grew up on a mixed grade and poultry farm. And so I knew it from more the kind of, I would say, business aspect of it. And so after after I graduated college and moved and I have a farm of my own now, my husband said to me, “Are we going to have chickens?” And then what? “Hell, no!” I say, I know, I know how much work they are. And no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. We’re not having chickens, we’re not having cows like, hmm, no way.
Sherri: [00:02:47] And it wasn’t. I don’t know what the heck happened, but all of a sudden I got chickens and I actually look at them now. They’re more my pets with benefits. Rather than having as a business, I’m not in for for, like what it was when I grew up. It was meat production and egg production. I’m not necessarily interested in that. I like to watch the community of chickens. I love roosters. And so, yeah, I have roosters. I have hens. I have pretty colors. I, they have personalities. And that’s that’s mainly what I have for. They’re my they’re mine. They’re my mental mental mental health release type deal.
Jesse: [00:03:27] Yeah. And then, you know, they’re a pet that gives something back besides just snuggling, of course, you can get eggs and then you’ve got, you know, some kind of food source there. You take care of them. Is it? Is it true? If you take better care of them, they’ll lay more eggs?
Sherri: [00:03:45] I like to think so. There are happy chickens.
Jesse: [00:03:48] I wouldn’t know either way. Well, much to the chagrin of my father who grew up on a farm. But I —
Sherri: [00:03:52] I would. I would think so. A happy chicken like you could tell the difference between a happy chicken and a stressed chicken. And I don’t know. Think about yourself. If you’re in a stressful situation, you’re not going to work. You’re not going to put out your best productivity. But if you’re a happy camper, you’re going to put out much more productivity. You’re going to be the happier creature to be around.
Jesse: [00:04:19] That’s fair. That’s fair. I think it makes plenty of sense, even if you’re not like dyed in the wool animals activist, which I’m not a little more realistic than that, but I think if you look at it from the perspective of like, you know, living creatures deserve our respect, then you come at it from a place of even if they don’t produce more eggs, probably still best to treat them well and make sure they live happy lives.
Jesse: [00:04:48] So, Sherri, the elephant in the room after reading your story, you know, it took you a period of time before you could call yourself an endurance athlete. And you describe yourself as the back of the pack runner. So, you know a little facetiously, but I have to ask you, what the heck are you doing, Sherry? Like, why are you if you’re not, if you’re not after the podium? Like, why? Why are you out there?
Sherri: [00:05:16] Well, that’s a fair question. That’s that’s a — I’ve asked that myself and I’ll give you a little bit of info. I did not. I was not a runner all the way through. We did not run. I came a Saskatchewan. The only reason you ran is because either a you were chased or your horse got out the fence. So that’s the only way we ran. And I didn’t start running until after I was in my fifties. So after the age of 50, I started running.
Sherri: [00:05:44] Now I wasn’t from the couch. I started as a I’m a second degree black belt in or second degree brown belt in kung fu. So why am I doing this? I came across this quite accidentally. I never thought, Well, yeah, I’m going to start running. No, no, not at all. I got dragged into a mud race and kicking, drag, kicking and screaming, by the way, into a migration. Found out I didn’t die. But I why am I still here? Why do I keep going? Even though the chances are ninety nine percent, I won’t be on a podium. I have been on a podium, but ninety nine percent, it’s just something I am. It’s just something I’ve got a I don’t want to say obsession because that sounds into into the world of addiction, but it’s just, I love it.
Sherri: [00:06:38] I love going out there. I love seeing what my what I can do, what I’m capable of. I love experiencing new events like I going to the desert to run or going to the mountains to run big open sky. And my last race was actually a marathon in my driveway. And for anybody thinks a 30 foot driveway? No, I have a much longer driveway than that, but I still did a miracle to my driveway. It’s just something that it’s why. Why am I still here? I just want to see how good I can get, and I’m still back in the pack. I still want to get where it where is my best?
Jesse: [00:07:23] You know, it’s something that I think in some ways it — and again, I say this all lovingly, so if it comes out wrong, I apologize, but it’s just I think it’s in some ways. Like a gift that people in the back of the pack get a little bit easier than people in the front like sometimes I think people in the front become so obsessed with. The possibility of winning because they have the potential to. Did they lose sight of that internal journey in trying to find your best, regardless of whether it involves being on the podium, whereas like, if it’s not a possibility, then you you have to — I mean, what is the journey? You know what I mean? Like, what are you doing?
Jesse: [00:08:11] So I think in some ways it may come a little bit easier to somebody who is not at the front, but it is something I try to stress to everybody that it ultimately like. We all get older. You can’t stay on the top of the podium forever, and you have to find deeper meaning in what you’re doing at some point or another. No matter who you are or what speed you are, and I think sometimes those those fast guys and gals, it’s maximum in the face later on because they don’t know what to do anymore when they can’t, you know, they can’t get on that podium.
Sherri: [00:08:49] I had a conversation with a friend of mine and I, — he was in a really sinister seven reel and he found him a very competitive guy. And he found himself on a team of beer drinkers. And I said, How was that for you? He says, refreshing. And when you mentioned the stress of podium and also what were you going to place? That is actually very true for the front of the pack, but the back of the pack, the stress is meeting that damn cut off. Am I fast enough? Am I good enough to be in that race? Do I run the am I? Because the whole thing is like to run a race is to get that buckle at the end or that trinket or metal? And then there’s the back of the Packers that there’s some times that they come to the finish finish line and there’s nobody there or they cross the line of Kaboom. They’re like the the the… The finish line is down. There you go.
Sherri: [00:09:47] And so there’s that kind of stress and there’s a lot stress on the back of the packer, particularly cut-off chaser, Am I good enough? Am I good enough? Because in a world that stresses speed. Speed and to to get, say, for example, podium, here’s the rest of us, well, what are we doing here? And that is that I find myself is like, I’m not fast enough, I’m not good, I’m not good enough because the thing is a lot of races, the back of the pack will be by themselves. And one thing that happens a lot, especially is photography. Oh great. Everyone could get their photos and when the bag of packer looks, and they’ve got maybe one. Whereas the front of the pack has albums now.
Sherri: [00:10:34] There was only one race I had that reversed is I had over 50 photos to choose from. It was a rebel marathon series. It was the I had the I had the photographers to myself and that was that was sweet and I cherish that. But yeah, the stresses, there’s still stresses, but there are different stresses front versus back, and it’s a different race at the back of the pack. It really is.
Jesse: [00:10:57] What I think to just from the number of years now, I’ve spent training alone, you know, ran collegiately and then on from there, basically training by myself. It’s it’s a different beast training and racing by yourself when you don’t like it’s. I had a friend in town last week and weekend before I know recently and we went out for a run together and there’s something so nice just about having somebody hanging with you. You run into the same speed, but it just feels a little easier. And I can only imagine I’m a short-distance guy. I like 5k 10k. I’ve done the longer stuff and kind of I’m down with it for now, but I could only imagine that that like. That weight of being by yourself only intensifies as the miles progress.
Sherri: [00:11:50] I actually, for some people, does I love being by myself? I just I’m an introvert, so it’s I just tap into whatever is there and I I know I just love it. And here’s the weird thing is like, I don’t go on group runs. I usually run with a select couple of friends. I don’t care for group runs. But what I’m going to race is because I love it, because I don’t have to run with anybody and guess what I usually do end up running with people. And it’s different for me and it and I know when I ran my 100-mile attempt at Catalina and Phenix, it was. I even I was with somebody else and I had a pacer, I was more in with myself, no, we’re going to get as far as we’re going to go and yeah, it is quite different to have somebody and. And it’s almost like, oh, wow, somebody with me or somebody had talked, Oh my God.
Jesse: [00:12:47] Well, well, I I mean, the question is, do you run out of things to talk about? I mean, the race, the race is last so long at that distance. Do you do you just you’ve got a gap for a while and then just everything goes silent or you’re like, Oh, it’s time to move on. You go find somebody else. Like, How does that usually unfold?
Sherri: [00:13:06] Usually what unfolds is I because of my running tight, my running style, I usually find a gear and I stay there, and there’s usually somebody who matches me, and I’ve had some people run with me through the whole race. And so a conversations if the in Catalina, a fellow, was a local there. So we just kept talking about where we both lived, and I wanted to find out about the course and if scorpions were really a threat or what’s what’s up with that and the conversations that actually really flow. And then there’s times where we’re silent. We just want to be with you. Just go, Okay, you’re there, and we just want to be in that silence together.
Sherri: [00:13:47] And that also happens to so it’s it really isn’t standard for every race. It really does evolve. And I, when I paced a girl and she’s doing a first 5K and she got to a really difficult point, and I said to her she was feeling low and I said, You can run and cry. You can run out the cry at the same time, you don’t have to stop. You can run a cry at the same time but can’t keep moving because that’s the only way you’re going to get through it. And she did like, you know, I gave her her space and she when she was finished her going through what she had to go through. She caught up with me. So it really it’s it really is what happens in the moment.
Jesse: [00:14:32] You know, I’ve talked to a number of ultra runners on the show over the years now, and everybody seems to talk about the like big roller coaster or the big ups and downs and emotions that come over an entire race, like I don’t think anybody’s ever said like in the whole thing was like, Oh, all sunshine and roses, just like everything went fine like there’s always some moment of darkness. So I just yeah, your your pep talk to say it’s OK to run and cry at the same time, I think, is both enlightening and encouraging. Just know, like in the sense you think about, like just accept where you are, you know, even if that place is not a great place and know that that’s OK and you’re still capable of continuing forward as well, even if you are in that place.
Sherri: [00:15:33] Oh, absolutely. And it’s like there’s not one pit of darkness, no longer the race. There’s it’s a role, honestly, is a roller coaster. And I’ve had times where I’ve went — I’ve gone from. Yeah, I could really go on. Yeah, yeah, I could do this to get me off this course now and everything in between. So I’ve been there and I’ve I’ve had my emotional meltdowns in the middle of grizzly country with no radio radio contact. We still have to get going and it is and it isn’t acceptance and just keep going forward and focus. And what matters is what, what you’re focusing on. And I choose my focus to the next rock, the next tree, the next cactus or whatever it is, and that really does help pull forward. And yet it’s an emotional rollercoaster.
Sherri: [00:16:23] The longer the race, the more ups and downs. And that’s it’s a disservice of what media shows because they show the start line. When everyone’s happy, they show the finish line with everyone’s happy, but nobody knows what goes on in between. And I saw a video in which Courtney Dauwalter at the UTMB and they had a video of which she had a rough go of this race. It wasn’t until, like, I think, last 15 miles that it where it came together and there was a video showing her in the video and she was not in a good place, but she kept going.
And you know, it’s too bad. There’s not more of that show on to show the reality of what goes on. Because, yeah, the finish line is either Yay, I’m done or thank God, I’m done one of the two, but the spirit is always better. They don’t show what happens at the in between, at the aid stations and where somebody is losing their mind and having a meltdown and stuff, and that’s all part of its part of it.
Jesse: [00:17:23] You know, I think about maybe this is an assassination of the media, but I think about how. You know, media tries to grab our attention, right, they want to they want to build drama, we want to make it dramatic. I would think that they would be like, That’s exactly what we want, what somebody crying while they’re running and like looking like they’re about to fall over and then continuing, like, that’s a very dramatic moment. You would think that they would, you know, whoever’s doing the coverage would want to capture that at some point.
Sherri: [00:17:57] The problem is that they don’t know when it’s going to happen.
Jesse: [00:17:59] That’s true, that’s true.
Sherri: [00:18:01] They don’t know when I get if I can’t say that it act that exactly at kilometer or mile number, whatever, I’m going to have a meltdown because it doesn’t match. It doesn’t happen that way. They usually come and attack you whenever you least expected.
Jesse: [00:18:17] Yeah, you’re right in a race playing right. All right. A 100K first 10K, we’re going to feel great. The next 10K not so great at twenty three K, we’re going to have a mental break and we’re going to wonder why we’re out here, OK? Yeah. Just like play to the whole thing out. Let people know this is where I’m going to have a tough time. I need it. I need a Snickers bar at mile twenty five. If only it were that easy.
Sherri: [00:18:44] Oh, my God, yeah. So an unpredictable.
Jesse: [00:18:48] Yeah, so I mean, it begs the question. How do you prepare for that? Mentally, I mean, physically, you know, you put the miles in, you put the time in, but is that enough mentally to prepare for the ups and downs that you’re going to go through?
Sherri: [00:19:06] Well, that’s part of the reason why I trained the way I do, I train a lot of solo and as I mentioned, I ran a marathon and I’ve also ran a 50K using my driveway into the road and back, which is a I go to the the corner and back. It’s a one kilometer loop, and if I use my driveway, it’s a two hundred meter loop type thing and I don’t run with music. I run in silence and when I did my marathon, it was a gut sucking wind. It was just above freezing and a gut sucking wind and it it took strength to go through it.
Sherri: [00:19:41] And and people say, Well, how can you do that? It’s so boring. I don’t consider it boring. And I said, You know what? You can have the prettiest scenery in the planet, but it’ll get boring. At some point at a time when the sun goes down and it’s dark, it can get boring. And when the putting in the miles, I always say when you’ve done your training, race day is race day. You don’t know what’s going to happen. You don’t know that a storm is going to come in. You don’t know that a cougar is going to walk in front of you. It’s just being that moment and be prepared. And I shouldn’t say be prepared but accept what’s going to happen because you don’t know. And just take take the race as it comes and let it unfold.
Jesse: [00:20:29] I think that’s difficult for a lot of people is just being present right, like we, especially when you’re planning for a race, you’re doing all these things today, but you’re preparing for the future. And then that race arrives and it’s now the present and there’s no more preparing for the future. It’s. Right now, it’s happening right now, so I think, you know, this is something I think I’m generalizing, obviously, but I think a lot of us either live in the future or live in the past. And it’s very hard to be in the present and just be here, right here right now.
Sherri: [00:21:09] Absolutely that you nailed it, and that’s a lot of ways, I think an issue with a lot of the world is because we either are in the future or are in the present, but we’re not here now. And on a racecourse, especially if you’re running single track or you got roots or rocks or whatever, you need to be there now. And it takes a lot of effort and energy to be here now because if you don’t and I’ve had this, I thought, Geez, I have to email my coach and I face planted on the middle of the trail. He wasn’t fun. And then I wanted to cry. But it was. It was. It reminds me, reminder of no, I have to pay attention here and now, and that’s that’s exactly it.
Sherri: [00:21:51] You plan for the future by getting your gear, knowing you in your tradition, new, knowing what the weather’s going to be like and that kind of thing. But when it comes to the race, yet it’s the focus on that race. What’s happening? And how do I feel right now, am I hungry and my thirsty? What do I want? The only future you can do is when you’re coming into an aid station is be prepared before you get into that aid station as to what you want. Yeah, sure, there’s not that time wasted, especially when you’re in the back of the pack. There’s not that time was wasted going, Jeez, I don’t know what I want when I come into the aid station. I want rebel checks. I want this. I want that. Give me that away go.
Jesse: [00:22:28] So it makes me wonder about what I raise. I’ve kind of relaxed a bit. As you know, my speed starts to get away from me as, you know, age creeps up. But you know, I remember so many times having the like fear of somebody right behind me, or sometimes the reality of somebody right behind me, you know, chasing me, trying to and then, you know, trying to drive forward to not get caught. Do you have that feeling with like the specter of the cut off line right behind your head as you’re going? Or or are you more relaxed about it than that?
Jesse: [00:23:09] I’m more relaxed about it now, I’m going to say I used to, I used to be like, Oh my God, how am I going to finish this race? Am I going to finish this race? And my first DNF — that was a real that was soul crushing for me. I actually tripped my love card, a tree root within the first, I’m going to say, three kilometers of the race and I landed hard on my right knee. And so I was in pain and this was a 50 miler. I was in pain. I ended up going forty nine kilometers in that race before I had to pull the pin.
Sherri: [00:23:46] And I had some good friends put me into reality of, you know, give yourself thanks for what you did do and realizing that cut off that finish isn’t, we put so much pressure on the cut on the finish. I’ll finish whether that’s know success or failure. And I’ll bring back my 100 mile attempt at how lean and I say attempt. I was being video for a documentary for this race, and I went, Oh my God, what if I don’t finish? And the girl that wrote the article in Canadian Canadian running magazine trial special that I was featured in, she goes, It doesn’t matter.
Sherri: [00:24:27] And that really brought us home, especially that race. If I’ve looked at, I didn’t finish. I’m putting all my effort and energy into two seconds that takes me to cross that finish line. Did I have the intention of finishing? Absolutely. And when it would come out to go for loop number four of five, my pacer said, Well, here’s the reality you have to do this loop in four hours in order to to meet the cutoff. And I said, Well, that’s not happening. And yes, we’re going out.
Sherri: [00:25:01] Because my whole thing was, I’m going to go until I can’t go anymore. And that’s exactly what I did. Now during that race, my first time was half an hour faster. My 100K time was an hour and forty five minutes faster than the year before, and I had the most incredible sunrise experience. So when I looked at, no, I didn’t get the buckle. Actually, what happened is I crossed the finish line to give my give my chicken, and the girl handed me the buckle and I said, No, I can’t accept that buckle. If I was dishonest, I could have taken the buckle and went home. I said, You can’t do that. I didn’t didn’t finish it.
Sherri: [00:25:39] But the experience that I got all, I look at it. The only thing that didn’t happen was I finished. But I had such an amazing race in between time. And when I look at do I have in the mind that, yes, I have to I’ve got this cut off to make or have that. Yes, it is. And I also don’t put so much pressure on it because if if it’s too much right in the forefront, right in the forefront, you’re not relaxed and it’s when you’re relaxed that you have a good run, that you are actually able to go faster. Now, having said that, if I can see the finish line right there and I see the clock is almost at time, will I drop everything and just give her? Yes, I will. I will find strength that I have no idea where it is, where it came from.
Sherri: [00:26:26] But yes, I will do that at that point of time. Or if I know that there’s there is, however, distance left and I really got to go for it. If I want to make it, yes, I will put the hammer down and go. But other than that, I I don’t, as I say, not anymore.
Jesse: [00:26:42] Yeah. I mean, I think that’s a really beautiful way to approach it. And I mean, it’s just like we were talking about like the ability to be present, right? It’s. You’re if you’re only focused on the finish line, like you said, you’re putting all this effort into still this future event you’re trying to get to for that one moment in time instead of being present through the hours and hours of time it takes to actually do the entirety of the race. I feel like. You know, maybe. If you are only focused on the finish line, do you miss the point?
Sherri: [00:27:27] Yes, because there’s so much that happens in if you look at it, for example, one hundred kilometer race, there’s like 19 20 hours of stuff that happens before you cross the finish line, not talking from my my my experience of doing the heavily one hundred and twenty twenty hours and fifty four. If I looked at just the finish line, I missed out everything in between the friendships I’ve made, the conversations seeing a guy actually have a piece of cactus stuck in his leg, you know, driving like that.
And yeah, it gets — There’s so much that’s missed, whereas it’s it’s an event when it comes down to it, did I? It’d be like going to a party and only only looking forward and savoring the time that you need. And there’s when realizing there’s a whole whole series of events that happened up to that point. And what’s it like to run to the desert at high noon?
Sherri: [00:28:23] What’s it like to experience this or what’s it like to be when the wind’s blowing sideways and it’s really cold? And how did I fare out? And when I look at each race, it’s a learning experience. How did I fare out through each race is my training run point. Is my nutrition on point? Did I choose the right gear? Do I know how to access my bear spray in case I run across a bear? So like, it’s all all stuff through the race. Did I answer the question, or did we go?
Jesse: [00:28:54] I go off on tracks all the time. Don’t don’t worry about that. You make me think about. The idea of the question, you know, you’re talking about all these experiences in living through the experiences and simply being with them. It comes with the territory and I ask a little rhetorically, but can you enjoy suffering?
Sherri: [00:29:22] You know what, it’s funny, you ask this question, I, one of my friends asked me, it goes, How are you so positive in the pain cave? How are you supposed to the pain cave and I just I sat by. It was first went, I don’t know. But then and I pondered this question for a few years and seriously few years, and it’s almost bring it because what’s on the other side is usually a gift.
Sherri: [00:29:53] And to get through that point, to get through that dark time to get through that suffering, it’s it’s it becomes what kind of resilience a person has. It proves the the grit, the determination, the stamina a person has, and it’s what’s on. I got through that, yay, I’m I’m alive. I didn’t die.
Sherri: [00:30:18] And which is how I felt the first that my brother was six kilometers of stuff, I asked if I was going to die and or I was going to get left behind when it proved it didn’t. Oh hey, that wasn’t so bad. Let’s bring on the next one. And have I been in pain case? Oh yeah. Oh yeah, oh yeah. And in a lot of ways it’s it’s Oh, here’s a pancake. Ok, well, let’s just get through it. If it’s physical, it’s going to last 20 minutes. Emotional pain. Well, let’s let’s go. It’s not going to last the whole race. It — some is longer, some shorter. And when the dog gives up and goes in the house and you’re left by yourself running like, Yeah, no, I’m going to finish this thing, that’s that’s all there is to it. And keep in mind what that goal is. And for me that it could be to finish that race, it could be to just finish what I’m doing.
Jesse: [00:31:14] This just maybe I am not supposed to say this, and I was like, I don’t I don’t mean this as a pun. This may be a chicken and egg problem, but I wonder about like. That idea of being able to to move through suffering, realizing the impermanence of it, how that translates into everyday life, and then it becomes a chicken and egg problem because of how you grew up, that maybe that helps inform how you race and then vice versa. Like, do you have a perspective on that that one influences the other or the other way around?
Sherri: [00:32:02] Yeah, kind of. I grew up my mom always said I was stubborn. Just like, you know, you’re so damn stubborn. Well, yeah, I got a lot of you. But yeah, I was always very stubborn and my husband went and put it perfectly, says Ultras are perfect for you because they’re you get to practice your stubborn in a safe spot. And I thought. Yeah, he’s right. I get a chance because it’s it’s a characteristic about me. And for a lot of, Oh, you’re stubborn, that’s bad. Not in this environment.
Sherri: [00:32:38] Not in an environment of an ultra or erase, it could be half marathon two of where something’s not just going, going right and you’re really wishing the bus was there to get on it. And it’s not, how do you get through? And it’s that resilience. So, yeah, it plays out in life as well, too, because there are things in life where you’re not getting your way right away.
Sherri: [00:33:00] So what do you do? Do you give up or do you keep going? You got to back off and look and go, Okay, how can I? How can I approach this a little differently? So I look at it’s it’s almost an entertainment. I’m not getting that promotion that I should be getting. Why not do I give up? No. Do I keep going? Do I see if if I’m not doing something quite right? It snowed last night, the tractor is not running, so what do I do? I take out the shovel and shovel, so it’s yeah, it’s as you say, a chicken and the egg. Well, it’s which did come first.
Jesse: [00:33:40] I think that begs the next question of how do you balance, you know, like you mentioned, that there’s a race you didn’t finish, you fell and you’re a lot of pain. How do you balance being stubborn and keeping yourself safe? Maybe being smart is not quite the right thing. You know what I’m saying, though, like how when there’s a point when it really is not good to continue in the stubbornness if you let it get to, you can be a detriment to you. So how do you balance like allowing the stubborn sherry to take over and then allowing that other side? That’s like, No, this is really probably not a good idea. Like, how do you balance those two?
Sherri: [00:34:25] His words, the stubbornness coming from if it’s coming from ego, then that’s not that is. That’s where I believe the injury is going to set in. And one thing I do is check in if if it’s not going well, the pain is it. Is it, for example, is it is it sharp pain? Is it coming from a joint? That’s the time to pull a pin, are you injured? And that’s why I pulled the pin because while I was going to, I wasn’t going to make cut off anyway, but injury. That’s a time to pull it.
Sherri: [00:34:57] If it’s, for example, if it’s your muscles calling you a jackass. Well, giddy up and get going because the thing is, it’s going to like that. That type of pain cycles like you’ll have a pain here. Will it cycle over there or else? And look at the situation. I had one. It was a race where we had to cross the river and the river was flowing. It was just above freezing. The temperature was dropping and I looked and I went, There’s no guardrail. I would have to walk across the river and I just went if I slipped and fell.
Nobody would see me. And so, anyway, the canoe was there and I went and called over the canoe, I hopped in canoe and I says, OK, take me across the river and the race director. I have to be there because what are you doing? I said, I’m crossing the river. He says you’re supposed to get wet, so I smack my hand and I’m, you know, water flying all over us. He says, you are supposed to cross the road, you’ll get wet.
Sherri: [00:35:53] I says, I’m getting wet, I’m crossing the river. And if you don’t mind, let me leave me alone. I’m going across the river right now. Yes, I’m going to do it safely. And that’s the keep that same mental focus, but an awareness of actually looking at that situation if I go on in this situation. Is that is that life threatening? Is it worth it? Is this a goal race? Because if it’s a goal race that I’ve traveled to on my handle things a little differently. But if it’s a race that I can come back to because it’s in my neighborhood or easily access or it’s not a goal race. No, I’ll pull the pin. I’ll look and go. It’s not worth it. We look at the elites.
Sherri: [00:36:34] They don’t finish every race they start, if they’re starting to have problems, they will pull the pin for the next race because they’ve got other races coming. So when I look at how important it is finishing this race to me, if it’s not everything that I’ve ever threw my chips in, a friend of mine finished UTMB on a broken leg and I’m like, Wow, how could you do that? She goes, I earn this. This is a one time shot. I was finishing it and she prepared herself so she could finish. So I would say, Look at the circumstance. Look, what’s that little circumstance entail if it’s full race, not a goal race? How injured are you if you have hypothermia? No, I’m sorry. Pull the pin because that’s that’s not worth it.
Jesse: [00:37:19] Yeah. I think you describe it really succinctly. It’s like you said, where’s the stubbornness coming from? Is it coming from a place of ego? And that’s if young athletes, especially and I was certainly in this category. So speaking to my younger self, but just I think it’s hard to have the awareness of some of that stuff where it’s like. Am I putting myself in danger because I pick on young athletes because there’s you haven’t necessarily gone through trauma yet and you kind of feel a little more invulnerable, right? Whereas like you get a little more experience, or maybe you’re around people that have more experience and they’re like, you know, crossing the river, like if you slip and fall, nobody’s going to see you. That’s a very bad situation. Let’s how do we negotiate this instead?
Jesse: [00:38:13] And that? It has to come from a place, it is an ego because you’re not puffing yourself up and going well, if I slip and fall, I could just swim through the river and it’s, you know, you’re going, No, realistically, I know my limits and this could be dangerous for me, you know, because there’s the idea or the the sense that like, you know, our will conquers all. Like, we’ll just, you know, power forward. It’s like, well, it’s a useful idea, but can be dangerous in some circumstances.
Sherri: [00:38:51] Absolutely, and they also have to realize and this was even during my tenure in kung fu. This is recreation. I’m not getting paid to do this, yeah, this is recreation and what’s the fallout if I continue? And and this is actually I was crewing a good friend of mine and he had blisters on the bottom of his feet. Like all the blisters, he wasn’t walking very well, and he still had another left to go for his hundred mile. And he says, I’m pulling a pin and I said, Wait a minute, let’s just sit and talk about it. And I said to him, I’m not going to force you to do anything you don’t want to do. And I said, You have to. I said, come Monday or Tuesday or whatever, you got to wear work boots.
Sherri: [00:39:33] How is this going to affect? And he — when he looked at everything, we looked at the broad picture because it’s easy to get focused, Oh, I got I got to finish, I got to carry on. But when you look at it realistic, this is entertainment. This is recreation. There’s no big million-dollar sponsorship. There’s nothing on that hanging. So what we do depends on us.
Sherri: [00:39:58] And if I did something that impairs, say, for example, something else, if it was a job or if it wasn’t my ability to do something. How does that all fit? And when we have that perspective? Then we’re easier to make we found herself easier to make that call, because if if we if somebody say, for example, they talk their knee out or they they broke something, that’s how many months of not only having that injury but coming back from that injury, having an injury heal.
Sherri: [00:40:29] And my friend, when we talked about it on the way home, he was actually very good with his decision. He says, No, I made the right decision and you have to be OK with that. And when I said to him, I said, OK, whatever decision you make, you got to be OK with it when you wake up tomorrow morning.
Jesse: [00:40:47] Yeah. Sherri, we’re starting to run down on time. So if you don’t know for any listeners the show’s been around, they know I ask everybody for a single season one question. So this is a question that you know, transcends disciplines and people and time those and all the kind of things. This year’s question, I think it’s especially important a friend posed it to me because I certainly don’t do it enough. She doesn’t do it enough. And many of us don’t. So I’m kind of pulling to see what people do and maybe how I can improve myself. So I want to ask you, how do you celebrate your wins?
Sherri: [00:41:32] Oh, how I celebrate my wins. You know, I came into my mind is my husband doesn’t come with me to all my races. He will come to a few races. And what he does do for supporting is he comes in from what he’s doing. He sits down and I go over that whole race with them. He wants to see my swag. He wants to seem like you buckle. He wants to hear about the race and a lot of ways I get to recount it as well. Now, after the race, I want to make sure I love grapefruit rattler. So there is a celebration in there somewhere.
Sherri: [00:42:07] And also another thing is I do a heathen week after a major race. And what that means is I don’t I’m not concerned about training. I’m not concerned about how I eat. In fact, get away, you know, don’t do not be in between me in the refrigerator or a bag of chips. That’s a dangerous spot. But I just let myself be and I let myself celebrate. Like, you soak it all in and when I’m ready to come back, not when my training schedule says so and my coach is really good with that. He’s it’s what I am ready to come back. Then I’ll come back and I’m allowing myself that downtime.
Jesse: [00:42:47] This is pretty solid, and in a way, you kind of answered my season one question, if you could only choose one recovery food for the rest of your life, what what would you choose? Most people chose some, you know, some kind of I’ll say junk food. But just like comfort foods, you know, it’s like you put in all that hard work and then you want something, you want some kind of treat after all the work and dedication and all that kind of stuff.
Jesse: [00:43:09] Bacon, bacon, there’s gotta be bacon in there somewhere.
Sherri: [00:43:13] It’s got to be bacon. I don’t know if I got bacon for the for the question, so I’m going to take yours as the official answer there. Sherri, if people want to check up, see what you’re doing. Get in touch with you. Get your help on that mental side. Where can they find you?
Sherri: [00:43:30] Instagram I’m Trail Runners Journey on Instagram. I’m also on YouTube as well. Trail Runners Journey. My website trailrunnersjourney(dot)com. I am on Facebook. Actually, I have my personal profile. Yeah, you can contact me there as well too.
Jesse: [00:43:47] Sounds good. Sherri, thanks for hanging out with me today.
Sherri: [00:43:50] Oh, thank you, Jesse. It was awesome.