Don’t Kick The Rock

Kevin Clark and I finish a fun Superior 100 together, mostly unscathed. (Photo by Mike Wheeler)

Kevin Clark and I finish a fun Superior 100 together, mostly unscathed. (Photo by Mike Wheeler)


“Oww! Dammit!”

“What happened?” Asked Kevin, ahead of me.

I was so dazed, I wasn’t sure.

Glancing behind, I saw huge branch I with broken-off spikes of smaller branches, right at head height.

I hadn’t noticed it as I stepped over an equally spiky branch from the same fallen tree on the ground below.

As we continued to power hike up the trail, I put a hand to my head.

“Are you bleeding?” Kevin asked.

I pulled my hand away and looked.


And then...


Nothing - end of conversation. There wasn’t anything else worth saying about it.

We simply kept moving along in the Superior 100 race, in the same mutual, companionable silence as before. 

It smarted like crazy but that was already passing and I wasn’t bleeding enough for that to be a problem. No symptoms of concussion either.

As violent as it felt to get hit on the head out of nowhere after hours of running through  peaceful woods, and as freak-out-worthy as it looked, it wasn’t.

I was there to run a race, not find something to freak out about. I only had enough time, energy, and patience to do one of those well, so if I was going to freak out about something, it'd better be worth it.

And this just wasn’t. On the scale between “Trivial Occurrence” and “Race-Ending Catastrophe,” this landed way closer to Trivial.

Just one of many little choices in a day - in a lifetime - where you're deciding what’s important.

I’ve seen more than one runner trip, and instead of brushing themselves off and moving on, walk back to find whatever root or rock they tripped on and kick it back.

As if evening the score helps them feel better, or makes it un-happen.

And meanwhile, they're not getting any closer to the finish line.

If you’re serious about your goal - and your life - don’t give trivial things catastrophe status, no matter how freak-outable they look.

Put that freak out energy where it’s needed – getting past the real challenges.

Don’t go back and kick the rock. 

Get past the rocks in your way!

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Susan DonnellyRace Mindset