Celebrating Life, One Mile at a Time

i had been sitting in my van for about 10 minutes already when linda’s txt hit the iphone. “are you okay!?”. i wasn’t entirely sure. i had run 20 miles already and had 15 more to go for the “day before my birthday 35 miler”, to celebrate 35 years of being alive.

i figured i’d piece together three runs throughout the day and it’d be easy. but a storm came through salt lake that conspired to make this 35 miles anything but easy. i had done two 10 milers already. the first was part of the bonneville shoreline trail marathon loop christian and the slc crew had shown me the previous weekend.  the second was my last winter attempt to run up the west side of grandeur peak. i ran over to the parking lot then up the west side and into a cloud. within 20 mins i was in a virtual white out and post holing. i’m stubborn, so this went on for about 1hr before i thought to myself.. “i’m supposed to run 34 miles, what am i doing wallowing knee deep in the snow!”. i would literally fall off the small trail and land on my chest in the soft snow, both legs and feet post  holing at once.  i was not dressed for mountaineering.  it didn’t make much sense but i stubbornly wanted to get to the summit. eventually i called it, ran home, got in the car and was now sitting in the rattlesnake gultch parking lot in a snow storm, in the dark, soaking wet, shivering… wondering if this was a good idea.

every possible reason to drive home and eat was going through my head. my main goal was to climb and ski 10,000 feet of vert the next day, on my birthday. i was worried this would make me too tired and possibly sore to accomplish that. plus th20 miles is a good day right? the under fueled mind can and will play tricks on you. i hate saying i’m going to do something and not pull it off. it might be stupid and i might go hypothermic, but i was in a safe place with an easy out.  my txt response was “i’ve at least gotta try”.

out the car, full hood on, i ran up the gultch hoping to get warm. although snow was accumulating on my jacket, gloves and nathan handheld bottle. the cold feeling was quickly overshadowed by an under fueled and bonky one. after a couple gels i had some energy but a nasty stomach and i couldn’t keep my hands warm because they were soaking wet, as were my feet.  within 1hr the snow and my headlamp were on full blast.  the trees were getting heavy with the white stuff, and the trail was now fresh and untracked.  it was like running in narnia.  it was in fact… perfect.

“how lucky am i?”  is what kept running through my mind as i approached 35 miles.  my 34th year was great, however not without some hardships.  in the end i’m healthy enough to run 35 miles… and it’s my job to do so.  how cool is that?  after being hurt for the entire 2009 race season i feel very fortunate to be able to run at all. so, i guess the question is “am i okay?”.  yes, i’m fan-fucking-tastic.  thank you.