While I was saddened (because I am injured and cannot participate in what I enjoy) by the reading of the many posts recently with regard to the most recent 50K, 50 Mile, 100 Mile and 150 Miles races, I was so happy and encouraged that hard work, patience and perseverance can be rewarded. Many of those race reports are available to anyone with internet access; many are just on the e-mail users group.
People like the energizer bunny, I mean Al Holtz. I mean, 150 miles in 48:55:11:13! In his post he wrote “I now know by first hand experience what 2nd night hallucinations are. It is amazing what sleep deprivation can do to your mind. I am still convinced once daylight came Sunday that in the section of woods preceding the first aid station (totem pole) I saw a herd of (6-7) albino deer that ran away before I could get my camera out. Andy Weinberg laughed and said he was certain there were no albino deer in the park.” Makes me laugh…
Then there is Julie Berg. She is one of the most inspiring people as many have read her Blog, http://julieberg.blogspot.com/. She ran the 100 mile race in Pekin, Illinois as well. Besides fleeing from a drug dealing motel the night before a race, sleeping in her car in the cold temperatures (in the 30s) she has the grit and determination beyond most people I know. She does not seem to get rattled, just keeps going. She was 1.5 hours behind the lead women at 50 miles, but the lead women faltered and Julie managed to win the race leading the next place women by over 4 hours. Then after the race, just takes the simple 8 plus hour drive home. She makes it sound so achievable for anyone. If you are willing to put in the time and effort. Not just in exercise, but in diet and life.
Then I read about Adam, (analytical-training.blogspot.com) who is making training into a research project most scientists would be envious of, taking second place in a race where they were running in snow knee deep. I love that he shares what he has learned. He, and many other Blogs you can link through his site, shares exciting thoughts and ideas that have helped them succeed and provide me with ideas and inspiration.
Than I am still waiting for the post from my buddy who seems to place things, both good and bad, into words which are nice to read. Phil Smith ran the entire 50 K race in snowshoes. He wrote a book about his first 50 mile race called Ultra Superior. That was also my first 50 mile race (and we both hope to make this September our first 100 mile finish) and I was slightly in front of him for most of the race. But as a read the book, he encountered the same things I did and brings back great memories. Like at about mile 43, I heard what I thought were angels in the woods. I came across a group of backpack hikers who were singing gospel music, may I say beautifully. Where else but in the middle of the wood on a 50 mile run would you hear such sweat music. I say that as at longer distances, for me, I get into a state of peacefulness I can not explain.
Then I see the data from the Techy like me, Zach, who is really doing well and it is nice to see the data he provides as we both have Garmin 305’s we love to use. There are so many others who I admire for their super efforts and successes they so willingly share, but have I limited time.
All these runners an so many more faced the cold, the winds, and the many elements and actually enjoy it. I tell me people about my runs and those of my acquaintances and they look at me and say “are you (they) crazy” and my response is always a strange response. Lately, I have said we all know we need to get busy living or get busy dying, and when I am on the trail, I feel like I am living. It is something I look forward to, these races. There is not a single ultra-runner I know who is not a kind, caring soul. The peace and tranquility of a 10 hour run is known only those who have experienced it know the outcome. Trail running in long distance help me see the beauty in the beast (the world). With the war, friends dying of cancer, distance growing between myself and my girlfriend, and all the negative things in the world, when I hit the trails, for long runs, I feel peace. I feel hope. I get a sense of purpose and understanding of this complex world from something as simple as putting one foot in front of the other, tripping on some roots, splashing through water and many other things that come with trail running. I am sure many know what I mean by this statement and that is the best I can do to explain, why do I (or others) do this?
I have one more week before the Doctor should clear me to run again. Then I need to be slow, take care of the knee as Superior Trail 100 is only 143 days away.
Signing off I will admit, I am looking forward to tonight… The Biggest Loser Finale! I want so badly for Ali to win! Some think this show is goofy but from someone who was 296 pounds, dropped to 215 in a five month time period, know the impact it has on the life. I feel for them, their joy, and their pain. Keeping it off is harder, but while I have gained some back, my life now is a whole lot different when I could not fit comfortably in some chairs… Just like trail running, you have to be there once in your life to understand.