Sunday, November 23, 2014

Out of the Darkness

  Why do I try and run ultra's? People ask me that constantly and the only simple anwser I can give them to avoid a weird long conversation is to simply tell them it's the journey I'm on right now in life.  This weekend I was blessed to be asked to help a guy Id never met before on his 1st attempt at a 100 miler.
  Flashback to last month at Cactus Rose 100- The night before the race, the eventual winner, B Jones gave me some advice. When you want to quit, go 5 more miles before making that decision. Well I heard him but still dropped just 10 miles before finishing my 3rd loop. Yea I hurt bad for 3 days afterwards but the hurt to my pride still lingers. I was ready for that race and when my mind got dark and I struggled I wasn't strong enough to survive. My coach told me later that I should have made them pull me instead of dropping and damn she was right....
Back to Sat night/Sunday am. I drove out to Big Cedar in boots n jeans but packed my run gear in case my friend Steven struggled. If he was ok then maybe I could help someone else. At 3am my coach called the start line looking for me to help out a guy that was sleepy. It had been raining and the trail was in horrible shape. At that point less than 1/2 the field was still out there battling. I met my runner, Servando at mile 59 and was asked to get him to 75 by 9am. We started out at 5am n I thought 4 hrs, 16 miles.  We got this and he has another pacer waiting for the last 25. I've ran this course many times but never in ankle deep muck and never with another runner. I run alone 99% of the time.    Soon the battle with the mud became 2nd place and the battle of the mind started.  By 7:30am I knew the 9am cutoff was not in reach but I didn't want to see him quit. We talked and talked and talked. Fortunately I have a sales background and he does too so we chatted quite a bit. We had 7 miles to the next aid station and it was tough. Pretty soon my runner started seeing benches and just wanted to sit. After the rain and both of us soaked I knew if he sat he wouldn't get up and then the shivering sets in. I finally just started ignoring all the benches he was "seeing" and told him they were bitches. Yea sorry but we are on a trail and the political correctness and everything is out the window. Walking sticks I helped him find helped more than anything I think.  I dunno if it helped him walk or just got his mind off his legs screaming and being tired. I finally relented after he took a hard fall on a bridge but  caught himself from falling 6 feet into the water and after I caught him from tumbling down some rocks. Yea I let him nap for 5 minutes and of course I timed it. That 5 minutes made Servando into a new man and the dude still had some run in those legs. He thought he had a rock in his shoe so I took it off and after seeing his feet I quickly put the shoe back on before he saw it. Yea I told him I got the rock out. Blisters heal in a few days but healing your pride takes longer. We continued and the aid station volunteers were incredible getting him in and out quickly.  Not once after his nap did he sit down again. We finished the 3rd loop around 3pm and he was I think 18th overall. Sure it shows a DNF but the man was pulled from the course. He never quit. I learned so much from this experience. I had 18 miles on my schedule and I got it but I also walk away from this with a true anwser to why I run ultra's. I run to bear my soul and to push myself to the breaking point mentally and when I get there, the wall comes down and I am a stronger person because of it...... 22 days til Brazos Bend 100 and Servando taught me so much yesterday about how to be a stronger person and I am grateful for that.

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