It was April of 2011 in Portland, Oregon and everyone was ready for a break from the darkness and wet weather; especially us runners who spend countless hours training through the winter and spring. The discipline, consistency, practice, and repetition is what makes us strong, efficient, and confident come race day. It’s also a super effective, positive, and fun way to combat the seasonal affective disorder that is so prevalent at this latitude.
To mix things up a little our friend Aaron Brian scored some really good seats to a Portland Trailblazers playoff game against the Dallas Mavericks. They came with a hefty price tag but we didn’t mind. It was more about the social gathering of friends, something different, and it’s always fun to have sweet seats where you can see and hear more of the action. Aaron did well and he, Amy Sproston, Todd Janssen and myself headed over to the (then) Rose Garden (now Moda Center) to watch a little NBA basketball, even though none of us were huge fans! [..]
Views of Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens on a training run w/ friends in 2011. Photo: Joe Grant
Circumnavigating Mt. Hood w/ some friends back in 2011. Photo: Joe Grant
Often times people ask why I run ultra marathons and put myself through the sometimes perceived self-afflicted misery. I remember being asked by one of my uncles in Morocco what I won for first place in a race many years ago. He looked at me very puzzled when I responded, “a belt buckle”! Trying to explain why we do what we do is very often difficult to articulate or put into words but I am sure it is the intrinsic rewards rather than the external or materialistic “prizes”. Training for a mountain 100-miler demands some serious commitment and time spent out deep in the wilderness getting used to the rigors that the actual event will bring. It is so much about the journey rather than the destination and I was able to draw on that a lot during my long run at Western States 100 last weekend. It reminded me of a card that my mother sent to me in 1996 when I decided that I was not going to attend college right after high school. I kept this card in a shoe box as I moved (sometimes wandering) from Florida to Pennsylvania to Colorado to New York over the span of nearly a decade. While living in New York I pulled the card out of the shoe box and pinned it to my bedroom wall because I love the message so much. I was reminded of the wise words just by glancing at the beautiful photos on the card every morning when I rose. In 2008 my wife surprised me and had it professionally framed and it still sits in my bedroom to this day. I thought that I would just like to share it with you all. It goes like this: [..]