But with time and every run since Western States, my heart and spirit are recovering. I found some quality healing this past weekend at the Born To Run Race in Los Olivos, California. Many of the people there, I have only met once - just at last year's race. Still, the people there make you feel like you belong, regardless of how fast or crazy you are.
This song from Rachel Patten, played a lot on repeat, in my head this weekend.
This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I'm alright song
My power's turned on
Starting right now I'll be strong
I'll play my fight song
And I don't really care if nobody else believes
Cause I've still got a lot of fight left in me..
I do still believe, that I'll run Western State again someday. That dream is still alive. Even if I don't get there, I can't stop believing or dreaming. Never, ever give up on your dreams, folks.
I was not planning on running the race this year. The weekend was going to be busy with my daughter's First Communion (it's a Catholic thing) and her birthday party on Sunday! My wife however, being the real trooper, told me to just do it. Perhaps she sensed that it's what I really wanted or even needed. Thank you, dear wife, for your support!
I got to the race camp in Lost Olivos on Friday, at 3:30pm, after about 3.5 hours on the road. Festivities had already begun. The Tarahumara had already done a Rarajipari demonstration and Bolla Races had been run. I floated around camp saying hi to everyone, but I didn't feel like I really belonged. With my shoddy training and lack of motivation, I felt like an outsider among a sea of passionate runners. Perhaps if I had done the beer mile, I would have loosened up and had more fun!
Instead of taking the time to set up my tent, I just lazily pulled out my sleeping bag and slept in my car. It wasn't comfortable, but I rarely have trouble sleeping. Last year, while training for Western States, 30 miles was an easy training run. This year, on minimal training, the idea of 30 miles is a bit more daunting. I know I can roll out of bed and knock out 30 miles, but I had no idea how fast I could go or how much it would hurt.
Once the race began however, the world just slipped away. I was in my element. I was inspired by the Tarahumara. I was inspired by my fellow runners. And I fit in perfectly. I was not fast, but I ran well. And the friends I ran with were just amazing to me. I shared my Western States story, and they embraced me (figuratively). I shared a lot of miles with Toni and Christine, and they were my angels out there. That's the other wonderful thing about ultras - you meet amazing people. And often times, when you're struggling out there (a common theme in really long races), you find some special people that really connect with you.
At the end of my race, I wanted to finish strongly, but my calves had had enough. My calves did not like running any more. They began to cramp in the final seconds. I shuffled in to finish my race in 5:55, which I was very happy with. It was an amazing day with some amazing people. It ignited a little spark in my heart. It helped me believe in myself a little more. And it felt awesome.
This video by Crista best reflects the party that is the Born to Run Ultra Weekend. If you ever want to be a part of a fun, running weekend, you have to try this race (10, 30, 60, 100, 200, or 300 mile option)!