May 22, 2014

The Essence of Why

I've written recently about the why factor. Why it is that we do these things that we do. Things others might (and do) hold in utter despair and view as absurd. Now, well, I've recently stumbled upon a quote that kind of sums up what I've tried and failed to put into words. If you can look beyond the literal reference to Everest, and see that the author (Sir Edmund Hillary) is talking about life itself, well, then you will understand.

"If you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won't see why we go."

Edmund Hillary

May 3, 2014

Grand Slam By the Numbers

The challenge: run four one hundred mile races with three to four weeks between each one. Western States 100 (June 28), Vermont 100 (July 19), Leadville 100 (August 16) and Wasatch Front 100 (September 5).

The good news is I’ve run three of the four races already so I have some idea of what to expect on those. The not so good news is I have not run the hardest of the four, Wasatch Front. That this one is the very last of the four could be a blessing in disguise. I figure if I make it through the first three alive, someone will have to shoot me to keep me from the finish line at Wasatch. I might have to carry knee pads on this one. If have to get down on all fours to finish I’m not holding back!

Cumulative elevation gain of the four races is 74,611 feet. Cumulative elevation loss is 78,796 feet. These are just numbers, right? Not to be confused with things that are more important like.....umm.....well....maybe....nutrition! Or attitude. Or fear. I wasn’t a math major, but from what I can piece together on the internet it looks like I will be climbing a lot this summer. It turns out that, if I just kept going up, this would be enough climbing to put me 22.7 kilometers above the earth (14.1 miles up). Folks, the stratosphere begins at 18 kilometers. Everest tops out at 8.85 kilometers.

Another turd in the punchbowl is having to run 78,796 feet downhill. Have you ever run downhill for hours, or days, on end? This will be the hardest part of all.

Please, keep your fingers crossed for me, so this 51 year-old body can hold it together.

Keep it real runners.