Getting Up from the Fire

Almost everyone I know in ultrarunning is running to or away from something. There is something the compels each of us forward during our darkest times on trail. There is also a brightness and stability that running brings each of us in our daily lives.

This last year, my running life has been full of accomplishments that I have spent years dreaming about. In horrible running conditions, which a Veteran runner compared to his time in Vietnam, I ran the Leatherwood Ultra 50 miler significantly faster than I did in 2013. I finished my first 100 miler at the C&O Canal 100 in April with great friends that I met through this sport. I completed the Grindstone 100 in 28 hours and 48 minutes, four hours faster than I had estimated. In total I ran 2,221 miles in 2014.

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Recently my personal life has started to go through some changes. Like always running has carried me these last few months. From the amazing people I have shared miles with to my loyal dog, Penny Lane, running has provided a means to “constant forward progress.” It has also helped me put things in perspective.

Sometimes, the road on your on changes for various reasons. You cannot allow these changes cannot control your life or your happiness. When faced with difficulty, its what you do that makes you who you are. At the Grindstone 100, I sat at an aid station fire just before the turnaround point. I was beaten. I would have dropped at that aid station if there was an easy transportation option. But there wasn’t any transportation option unless you were injured. Instead, I got up and started walking. Then I started running. Then I got pissed off at myself for wanting to DNF and I started really running. I actually negative split the second half of one of the hardest 100s on the east coast. Finishing a race I wanted to drop from is one of my proudest accomplishments.

That’s my plan now, to get up and start walking. Then start running. There is about to be a lot more adventure in my life. And while I hope to not negative split the second half, I plan to make the most of it.

In 2014 I spent a lot of miles running alone or with Penny. In 2015, I am going to enjoy the highly underrated social aspects of our sport. I am luck in the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club is not to far away and provides me with ample opportunity to run great trails with great people. I started to run with them a little in December and it already counts as a highlight for last year.

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I highly regret not putting in for the Western States 100 lottery. So this year both of my key races center around qualifying for Western States. In June I will be running the Laurel Highlands Ultra and in November I will be traveling down to Alabama for the Pinhoti 100. Ill be peppering a lot of 50Ks in before, in between, and after. I am even considering the Thomas Jefferson 100K in March (and by that I mean I am signing up on Friday). But until I cross Western States off my list, I will be entering the lottery each year.

I am already thinking about 2016. And if the “A” isn’t Western States, it will be something epic. I am thinking about travel. I am thinking about 200 milers. I am thinking about all of the options that are available to me. Its going to be awesome.

This blog has been a bit of a joke for me the last two years. But to me running is a creative expression and with everything I am dreaming up for the next few years, I would like to document it all a little better. So, this should become a little more active going forward.

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