Thursday, September 6, 2012

More stories from Lean Horse

I haven't been doing much over these last couple weeks - except sleep in and deal with allergies. I haven't even taken my shoes out of the suitcase. I feel fully capable of logging some miles but honestly, I just haven't found the motivation yet. I keep telling myself that I'm making up for all the sleep I sacrificed over the past 9 months of training...after all, I've earned it right?!

Before too much time slips away though, I wanted to make sure to capture some additional memories and stories from this race. There were some doozies...

Birthday Cake & Beer
If you read my Black Hills 100 race report, you'll know that during that race I came across a fellow who was extremely motivated and definitely on a mission to finish his race. While everyone's motivation is different, he was repeating "birthday cake and beer..." over and over to keep his mind and body focused on what clearly would be a glorious finish line involving what else? Birthday cake and beer.

As I entered the Mueller Center for the LH100 pre-race briefing a couple weeks ago, I was surprised when I heard someone my name. A gentleman sitting directly in front of me said my name again...followed quickly by a stern military-inspired, "Birthday cake and beer!". Turns out, a friend passed my blog on to him and when he realized I'd be running LH100, made it a point to seek me out. Robert and I each had a good laugh about the story again and hung out chatting for a while before the pre-race meeting began. A genuine dude who is still active duty in the Guards (I believe) and making his way up through the ultra-distances.
Robert and I (with matching BH100 shirts)
Funnier still is that on race day, I was casually making my way along the Mickelson Trail and didn't recognize Robert running the other direction (he had since made the turn for his 50k). He again shouted my name followed by his now trademarked, "Who-wha! Birthday cake and beer!" My eyes and spirit perked up knowing that my new friend was still having fun and making his way back to the finish line.

Post-LH100 (Robert took 2nd in his 50k AG)
We connected again post-race and introduced our respective families to each other. My folks (my most dedicated blog readers) got THE biggest kick from meeting Robert and his wife. It was great way to round out the weekend and I hope I'm able to meet up with Robert in future races.

I believe ultra-running is all about perspective. With each new distance, your perception of what is possible changes - your body and mind grow to believe that anything is possible. While I never want to diminish the accomplishment of running 100 miles, I think there are far more people out there who deserve greater recognition for not allowing their circumstances or perspective to get in the way of their goals.

I don't even remember when she passed me. I just remember thinking, "F*ck ya. That is cool" She ran past me with a prosthetic leg (the blade kind Pistorius wore in the Olympics). Talk about perspective.

We leap-frogged for much of the day, catching each other at aid stations. She had a great crew (a very attractive crew according to Erik) helping her change and adjust the prosthetic. Eventually I would pass her and not see her again until the finish line. What an amazing woman. I don't think any of us can know adversity or a real challenge unless we've walked a mile (or 100!) in the shoes of someone else.

My hat is off to this handi-capable woman and her 100-mile finish.

Frosty the Snowman
The nighttime temperatures during the race were down-right chilly. For this Arizona-boy, the temperature swing of more than 60 degrees added a little extra nip in the air that evening. Nothing gloves and a light jacket couldn't ward off however.

As Todd and I were running on Argyle Road however, we came upon a guy that was shuffling along pretty well but something just didn't look right. He looked like the Stay-Puffed Marshmallow Man. The dude had full-on snow gear from head to toe - a massive parka (with hood), snow pants and gloves.

I'm assuming he was cold. Definitely not from around these parts...

Ultra-Running Carnage
People often ask (and worry) about what running 100 miles does to your body. There is no doubt that it takes it's toll. While I'd love to believe that my training had prepared me and that recovery would be a breeze, the truth is that yes, there is pain. In my case, swelling in my right ankle was the primary culprit but in general, most everything from the waist down wasn't quite working correctly for a few days.

Stairs = bad. Walking = slow. Excess salt = painful swelling.

In the infamous words of LMFAO, "Everyday I'm shuffling..."

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