Using your $10…a metaphor for life and the anatomy of a DNF

A friend once spoke to me about a metaphor he has for life…you have $10 and every little thing in life costs you something, until finally you have nothing left.

Now, I can’t remember how long the $10 is meant to last in his metaphor, but I’m going to say that at the beginning of each year we get a new $10. Each little stressful situation takes away from that money. For example, a hard race might cost us anything from $1-2. Work stresses might be 50 cents. And so on. Wonderful things like your wedding, or the birth of a child or a happy, relaxing holiday might add some small amounts back. However, the concept is you want to arrive at the end of the year not in over-draft!!! Maybe with even a couple of bucks left! When you have nothing left you literally: Have. Nothing. Left. You are stressed to the max and deeply unhappy and barely surviving. I like this metaphor…it helps you to think about how you are going to parcel out you $. (Some self-help books call these giving f#*ks. The basic concept is the same).

Now I started 2018 with my $10. I had just moved to Canada and was adapting to life here. Now my over-spending began. Learning how to drive on the other side of the road and in snow: cha-ching! Adapting to a new work environment, meeting new kids and staff, learning the new ways, making new friends; cha-ching, cha-ching! I was spending those bucks fast!!! Even running in the snow and cold weather was a huge challenge to overcome.

I crazily entered the Sinister Triple, coz hey when you’re in for a penny, might as well be in for a pound right!!?? I was training hard and working hard…all taking money from my $10. Then the sh*@t really hit the fan. I had driven to Vancouver for Spring break (that drive took a few bucks too!!) We stopped in Kelowna on the way home to break up the drive. Every night I put my phone on aeroplane mode. I woke up in the morning of Good Friday and switched the phone back on to missed calls and the news that my mother was very unwell. I had to drive form Kelowna to Calgary through mountains and snowstorms with my head very distracted: more bucks taken. I finally made it home, but life had to continue as even if I went back to Australia, it wouldn’t make any difference to the situation and we all thought she was basically stable. But let me assure you, every moment the stress of it was taking money from my $10. Pretty sure I was down to about $4 and it was only April.

Then, the devastating news that my mother was not doing well at all and time was running out. I flew home for a week. Travel is stressful under any circumstances, but these were the worst. I took the wrong passport and had to re-apply for my US visa at the airport 2 hours before my flight. Cha-ching!!!

I got back to Canada and three days later got the news my mother had died. I think I was down to about $2 by now. I flew back to Australia, and whacked my daughter’s flights on my severely battered credit card too. If I had $1 of my $10 left I would’ve been very surprised. 

I returned to Calgary, behind on work and numb to life. I continued to go through the motions of working and training but every moment was a struggle. I think I was now in over-draft.

Then, finally Summer vacation. Time to re-coup. But silly me still had these three races to complete! So, five weeks after the death of my mother and 3 1/2 weeks after returning to Canada, I fronted up to a 100 miler with no crew and no clue. Just drop-bags and a severe case of anxiety.

So, it should not surprise anyone that my stomach started to go south fairly early in the game. Every time I ate or drank, it just went straight through me. A highly unpleasant and painful experience!! I struggled on, but by the 6th leg I was feeling very dizzy as I started the climb. I kept sitting down on the side of the trail trying to get my head together. A guy stopped to check if I was ok. I don’t know what I said but I remember him saying ‘You’re not making any sense, I’m going to tell the volunteers at the next aid station’. I managed to get up and keep going. I was coming close to the aid station; freezing and half-delirious. A woman was walking towards me with a blanket. She said ‘Are you cold?” and I burst into tears. That is when my race ended. The simple kindness of a stranger undid me. She hugged me and led me to the aid station where they bundled me up and called the medics. I was transported back to the last main transition area and taken to the medical tent. I wasn’t allowed to leave until I had someone pick me up. Thank goodness my friend Lance didn’t mind me ringing him and waking him up. He came straight out to pick me up.

Thus, one can see how important it is in life and running to dole out our $ carefully. I have had some time since, and a lovely break in Alaska, to try to put some money back in the account. I still struggle..I cried writing this! But I think I might be back up to about $2 now. From where I was, that’s a veritable fortune.

Check out my vlog of the Sinister seven race here.


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