Thursday, June 23, 2011


At what point do you stop growing? I think never. I love to challenge myself, because this is where I attribute my biggest growing moments. Some of my challenges land within the distance running community.

When we decide to take on a challenge for ourselves, it has to be just that, for ourselves. No one else will carry you through those difficult moments. If I ran marathons for someone else I would have stopped along time ago. I realized the shift a few years ago, as a 26.2 mile finish became no-surprise to others. When you are on the brink of accepting a challenge, something you have never done before, and something that is undoubtedly harder than anything you have been a part of, in making the decision you must ask yourself, ‘Why am I doing this?’ If it’s for you, for your soul, you’re in, and there’s no passing it up.

One thing I truly live for is challenging myself to complete tests of endurance, some that sound totally impossible. However, at the same time, I acknowledge my imagination dreams up my next challenge, so I have to be careful in evaluating the outcome. This is usually where my ‘better half’ comes in. He is able to determine the realistic angles of it, and I welcome his help, (sometimes that is a challenge for me).  We all have our motives, the will that drive us. For an example, I am running the North Face 50 Mile Endurance Challenge on December 3rd, 2011. Why did I sign up for a 50 mile run? Well, I was reminded of one of the reasons when the butterflies hit my tummy as the online registration screen read, ‘Please wait, Credit Card Authorization in Progress’. I love those moments in life.

As I write this I have just accepted my biggest challenge to date, and it is less than 3 weeks away.  I have accepted the opportunity to be the fourth man on a crew team, for runner Rochelle Frazeur in the world’s toughest foot race, the 2011 Badwater Ultramarathon that takes runners from 120 degree heat in Death Valley, California to Whitney Portal, California. The runners run from the lowest point in the northern continental to the highest. Rochelle plans on finishing within 40 hours. The challenge will be being in good enough shape to withstand the extreme conditions in order to aid Rochelle. Ice down her bandana, monitor her hydration, deliver salt tablets,  wipe her sunglasses, feed her pretzels, talk her through hallucinations, all while experiencing the heat, lack of sleep and exhaustion along the sweltering roadside for 135 miles, 48 hours, where your sweat doesn’t have time to appear before it evaporates. Your question, I am sure is ‘Why?’ One reason is to be out there with other people who wouldn’t ask the question. Those who understand. Another reason... because I know I can, and I am obligated to that ability.  Another reason....  I’ve wanted to since the minute I saw the first runner come across the finish line in 2009 before climbing Mt. Whitney.  In fact, in a weird way I envisioned myself out there doing it in the coming year. I just knew I would.
I read the following quote in the novel, ‘Once a Runner’,

“The desire to keep running until the task is completed or the goal is achieved is so great that it overrides our better knowledge”. So, I suppose I am committing the sin of knowing better.
I know I will walk away from this opportunity, bestowed upon men and especially women who have jumped their own hurdles to get to the start line.

Rather than going for the next ultra race, I intend to take this opportunity to stop, and see what I can gather from their experience, and undoubtedly gain the motivation to get out there and do it myself. I believe the primary drive in life is not pleasure, as Freud believed, but the discovery and pursuit of what we find meaningful.

I will certainly keep you updated on the Badwater Ultra Experience - coming July 9th - July 13th