Category: Uncategorized

This post is a bit different than my others. It’s not about a race. It’s not about training for a race. It’s about a trip I took to Nashville recently that reminded me of something I’ve noticed before, but haven’t been able to describe very well. I’ll do my best…

Judy and I are in the process of producing a movie about a race that Kamil and I did last year. Our songwriter wrote a couple of songs for the movie and we went to Nashville to record 2 of them. Judy, me, Carol (the songwriter) and Amber (the singer) hopped in the car and headed south to meet up with another songwriter, Steve, who hooked us up with a recording studio. Steve is a guy who is passionate about writing songs and also loves 18th and 19th century american history, which I also do. I liked Steve right off the bat the first night. I liked his passion, and I liked that he followed his passion. The next day we went to the recording studio and met Jason. Jason is the music producer who is also passionate about what he does. Another singer showed up and watching the recordings unfold was a unique experience. It was people coming together and creating something beautiful! Later that night, we went to Steve’s and he performed some of his songs. Hearing a songwriter perform is like going to the well of creativity instead of getting a filtered down version of it on the radio. It has the added component of their feelings at that particular moment, which makes it so real.

To top it off, we went to the Bluebird Cafe the following night to hear other songwriters perform their songs. I recognized many of the songs and again, was floored at the reality of their creativity. I only run into this kind of thing every so often – it is rare. Which means that most people, most of the time, don’t exhibit this beauty, this reality, this creativity. The last time I came across it was about 4 years ago. A friend was singing at an open mic night when a girl, maybe all of 14 years old, got up and sang a song that brought tears to my eyes. She was so open with absolutely no reservations that it took me by surprise. That experience woke up a part of my soul that I didn’t even realize was sleeping.

That is how I want to live. No reservations. The simple reality that comes when doing what we love to do. I get some grief from friends and family that watch me put a fair amount of energy into training and racing. My wife, however, sees the joy it brings me. The creative vocations are often looked at as hobbies, or something that should be replaced with lucrative ambitions. But sometimes by accident, like during our trip 2 weeks ago, I remember how important that thing is. Whatever you call it – it’s real, it inspires, and it’s powerful!

Hours Before the Race

I’m sitting here knowing that in less than a day I will be on a single track trail pushing my body to its limits. I try to picture what it will be like – what it will feel like. At other races I usually concentrate on the little details. Take another drink. Keep a steady pace. Try not to heel strike. Have another gel. How is my energy level.

At some point it becomes me and my beliefs. I believe I should slow down a little. I believe I can finish at this pace. Eventually those fade away and I end up with only one question.

Why am I doing this?

If I don’t have a good answer on hand, my race will crumble. I go into this race knowing that I do these races to learn about myself and my limits. When I learn new things about myself my perspective changes – not only about myself but about the world I live in from day to day. My beliefs about what I can do and what you can do mutate from cynical to hopeful.

Yes, running 100 miles gives me hope.

Sunrise on Mt. Ranier