This is how it works-
I love to run but there are times when I would rather not. This is when the voices start. Chants, name calling, guilt and reverse psychology is how they get me up and out the door. I don't really mind the voices and have actually started looking forward to their daily calls. Together we have formed a running club that supports, encourages and competes with each other. I love these peeps. They are much more experienced, talented and tougher than I am. Pushing me out the door, through the hard miles and up the monster hills when I am feeling lazy or want to give up. Some people have "real" training partners, coaches and support crews. My team is ALWAYS with me and helps me to keep my eye on the prize and not veer off the track. Sounds crazy- Yeah, probably is.........

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

We Are Fighters. We Never quit.

The 2nd Annual Turn the Trail Pink 50k...... I almost didn't ask. Almost skipped the part where we make it count. The ONLY part that matters. Why? Well, it's simple. I was a little scared that everyone was tired of the constant begging for donations and tired of the whole "dude in a pink tutu" act. Trust me, I'm kind of tired of that part too. But I did ask. And you responded. Again. Big time. Last year the total raised was $405. This year? $2,147. Yep. $2,147. Amazing.

I always say that this is a team effort and I am just a very small part of it. I believe this is 100% true. Without the awesome support from everyone involved- nothing happens. It means a lot to me that so many took a few minutes to share my blog with others. Big thanks to all that donated money. Contributions from $5 to an "anonymous" donation of $500 helped make this a success. Special thanks to a friend from the "Benton Park Gang" who organized a bake sale that raised $250 and to another friend that collected $200 from co-workers for the event. That was really awesome. In total, there were 76 names placed on ribbons and attached to the tutu to honor on this run.

On to the race....... There were a LOT of looks as I approached the starting area on Sunday morning. A few years ago this would have really bothered me. I'm not sure when I quit caring what people thought of me but it's fairly new..... whatever. There where plenty of friends there to support me, which is always nice. After a few pictures and a lengthy wait in line for the restroom (a few snickers & comments) it was time to get started.

Coming in to this race, my confidence wasn't real high that I would be very competitive, which sounds funny to some considering the 50 mile age group state record thing just a few weeks ago, but my self-expectations were low for this race. Whatever. The race started and everything else melted away, the adrenaline rush of running with pack took over and it was on. I ran with my friend Jon for the first few miles before the pack began to spread out.

This is a tough course with a LOT of steep hills. Last year I ran a very fast pace and finished in 4:26. I knew this year would not be as fast and soon figured out that the course had been changed to include a "less runnable" section of steep hills. This made the race a bit tougher and that is EXACTLY what we look for in an ultra. Regardless of the course change, my time would have been slower and I enjoyed the harder challenge.

Around mile 14 I hit the split between the 25k and 50k. I had no idea where I was in terms of placement but I guessed it was around 10th place. Not sure what I based this estimate on but it seemed reasonable and I told myself that 10th would be great. It was getting warm and I was wearing down. The whole "tutu" outfit is hot and uncomfortable in the best of conditions and I was slowing down. 3 people passed me between mile 16 and 18. This did not sit well with me but I let it happen anyway.

Things got very quiet and lonely as I pressed on through the next 10 or 12 miles. Occasionally I would run into another runner that was still making their way on the "out" portion. Other than that and the few aid station people it was pretty secluded giving me plenty of time to think about the 76 names I was fortunate enough to carry. I don't know all the stories, but I do know a few and they break my heart. Friends from high school to a 4 year old that many of us follow on facebook..... cancer is evil. Just thinking about the journeys of those this run represented was enough to push me through these hard and lonely miles.

I caught a glimpse of another runner around mile 29. Where did he come from? I wasn't going fast enough to catch anybody. This was the last thing I needed. A freakin' race down the stretch with this dude. The thought came to me to just let him go..... but then a voice said...."Really? Really? Are you saying that you can't put just a little effort? We are fighters. We never quit. We believe."

Sounds silly, but that was a powerful moment for me. I knew that that voice represented all the warriors that had dug deep and found strength when faced with much more painful and real situations than a stupid trail race. I pushed a little harder and eventually passed that runner. Now I was ready to cruise in the last mile with the knowledge that I had stepped up when asked and secure in the idea that I had represented well..... Uh-oh.... What the?? Where did this dude come from? Up ahead, another runner that had passed me earlier. There was no way that I could catch him..... "Really? Don't be such a....." Well, you get it. I pushed with all I had and passed him too.

Coming into the finish area of this race is always fun. Even more so when you have a lot of friends there to cheer you on. Not sure where the energy came from but for some reason I decided to do a "less than spectacular" cartwheel before hitting the finish line. You can watch it here......

Final result was 5:23, 5th place overall and 1st in the 35-39 age group. Not bad for a slacker. I would promise to hang up the tutu and not ask for your help again but that won't happen. I do, however, promise to keep begging and finding new ways to raise money and honor those touched by cancer until there is a cure. It is comforting to know that I am not alone in this fight. Thank you.

In times of great despair and uncertainty, it helps to know you’re not alone and that there is an answer–hope.


Indi said...

You.Are.Awesome!!! amazing inspiration! Was great to meet you in person..even for a few minutes!

Julie said...

I loved this blog...found you through facebook...I just added you to my list of favorite blogs on my blog! I hate cancer!!

sugarmagnolia70 said...

Great recap. And don't give up the's a great gimmick, and it's working for you.