Saturday, December 24, 2011
The Stars of UltraRunning
I was looking through the list of runners signed up for Bandera 2012 and was initially going to write a post highlighting all the "stars" of ultrarunning that I recognized and put links to their blogs so you could join me in the stargazing.
Then I started thinking about people outside the spotlight that left me feeling like I could not go on concentrating on the "elite" runners.. I read the piece in the December TrailRunner about Brooks Williams finishing 19th at Leadville despite having cystic fibrosis, a respiratory and digestive disease. Then I thought about the guy who parked next to me last year at Bandera and I had the pleasure of talking with the night before the race.
He was a mature trail runner who lived in an assisted living community and who did not have a bladder because of cancer. He drove his tired, old ass from California and slept in the bed of his truck the night before Bandera just so he could try and walk the whole 100K in under the cutoff time. When the other old men at the senior village had asked him why he puts himself through it, he told them that he couldn't play golf and he wasn't going to sit around and play bored games, waiting to die. He later told me that he it did for his sister who loved life and he had lost to cancer.
The real heroes in life and in ultrarunning are ones we never really hear about until we meet them in life, at a race, or they become a warm-fuzzies-feature story in Trail Runner magazine. They are the people that life chops off at the knees and they rise up on their nubs or stumps or whatever, without dusting themselves off, and kick ass. They make us "regular" people look like a bunch of wimps.
Overall, I am a positive person, but when I'm feeling tired or sore on a long run, sometimes I have to pistol-whip myself back into being positive. I think back to something I heard on UltraRunner podcast. I'm not going to quote it verbatim, but basically it said that no matter what kind of pain you are feeling, there are terminally ill people laid up in the hospital that would HAPPILY trade you pain for pain to be doing what you are doing. That usually sets me on my way back to my happy place knowing how awesome I got it.
You know that you got it good when you have to find things to complain about such as your watch that uses satellites in friggin space to tell you how you are running. When we complain about the new version of the shoe that was our go-to for years on end is now a little different, perhaps we should just be grateful to have legs.
When we're feeling bad that we couldn't/didn't give everyone the Christmas gifts we wished that we could've, just be glad that you are alive to get to see them and tell them that you love them.
Merry Kwanzukka, everybody.