I am a “good” tired. The kind of tired where you feel like you did something.
The mountain getaway with the girls was outstanding, but suffice it to say I ate and drank enough crap to cripple me for a few days. I also slept for only five hours, which is 4 hours short of my usual restful night’s sleep. Yes, you read that right. This ageing girl of 44 needs about NINE hours. Proud of that.
Erika, Julie & myself. I am doing my best to pretend my arm is in a sling. The picture is tilted because I took a timer shot from the hood of my car and that never goes well.
We went out to breakfast Sunday morning. I was on my fourth cup of coffee which probably led me to look/feel like shit warmed over. Got any sandals to go with those crow’s feet?
We also had a rousing discussion about the word “taint” because neither friend knew what it was. I am so disappointed in my friends. Julie said, “Yes, I know what that is! I have a friend named Tate!”
If you don’t know what it is, click HERE. It’s really not gross, just another body part. If you are a cyclist, you might use it in everyday conversation, as in “My taint is a bit sore from that 150 mile ride I took this weekend.”
Then the waitress brought our food and it was a gob of goodness.
With more butter than should be allowed, except if you are Paula Deene (yes, that is butter on the fork).
I sarcastically asked for more butter (my idea of a joke, not funny) but the waitress did not get the joke and brought me this. It may look like ice cream, but it is BUTTER. I ate it with a spoon.
I got home about 1:00 p.m. so that I could join my friend, Dana, who was running the American Heroes ultra marathon right here in little Longmont. Basically it is a one mile loop that you do as many times as you can in 9 hours and 11 minutes, to commemorate 9/11 (or you can run 5K up to marathon distances). The race started at 8:46 a.m. when the first tower was struck. My goal was to pace Dana for 11 miles. His goal was to run about 40 miles.
Dana is 54 years old and has done countless ultras and marathons over his 40 years of running. He has done the Leadville 100 many times as well as Western States. He has not, however, done an ultra in seven years and decided to do this one on last minute whim.
I invited myself to join Dana to support him and to learn what it felt like to be part of the ultra experience. I promised not to talk about taints.
I found Dana when he was about 27 miles into his run and had been out there for close to five hours. The race was very mellow with only 10 or 15 ultra runners out there. You actually run through the finish on every lap. This is me at mile one and Dana at mile 28. YES! I did a mile and FAR exceeded my goal of .1 mile.
We plodded along. The funny thing is, this was the first time I had ever met Dana in person. He reached out to me when he found the blog and an article written about me in the local paper. He says he reads the blog because of how much I love to run and how much passion I have for it. He says I remind him of himself when he was younger. Except I don’t run with my shirt off, well not usually.
Dana been a real mentor to me over the past year. He has been running for so long that he has an amazing perspective on how to find balance while leading a life focused on running. He reminds me to pull back and to remember that I have YEARS ahead of me to run and I do not have to fit a lifetime into a short span of time. Basically, he helps to make me less MANIC about my running.
We continued along, talking, getting to know one another. I could tell the the utlra environment was so much more laid back and casual than a marathon environment. I have to say I loved it. Every lap, we’d stop and get water, have some cookies and chips and carry on our way.
Sometimes we’d run, sometimes we’d stop to walk. It was HOT at about 85 degrees:
While it may be not be popular to walk during marathons, it is VERY expected and necessary to walk during ultras. As Dana explained, the ultra experience is about “survival” and about moving forward. That is it.
During my last mile, Dana was approaching 40 miles. His legs were cramping badly and he was in survival mode. His wife brought him a Frappuccino and this seemed to help. When I left him he had about an hour left and later found out he made it to 40.95 miles!
I was convinced, inspired, motivated. I want to do this. At one point Dana said, “I ask myself why I do this. I don’t know. All I know is that tomorrow I will know something new about myself I did not know today when I started this. It is about self discovery.” Bingo.
Later he looked at me and thanked me for being there. For giving him a boost. But, really the pleasure was all mine. It moves me beyond words to witness people pushing beyond their limits. People who voluntarily make themselves uncomfortable in order to dig deep and to grow. It was a privilege.
Where do I sign up?