Well, it seems quite a while since my last adventure. It's coming up on almost a year since I summited Mt. Elbrus, in Russia. I continue to receive emails asking me when my next race is, and if I'm still doing these type events. Even though I run marathon distance or slightly longer races pretty often, I like to do REALLY difficult races, or mountain climbs, only about twice a year because they're so hard on the body. I was scheduled to run an ultra marathon through the Sahara desert this past April, but chose to pull out just a week before the race because my catering company had just landed a contract to expand to the Charlotte airport. I didn't feel comfortable being in Africa for 2 weeks while my company had just began catering 300 flights a day in CLT. So the answer is YES, I'm still doing this, but it's sometimes difficult to fit them in a busy life.
As the gun goes off at 4am on August 20th, so begins my next race, a brutal one called the Leadville 100 Mile Trail Race...."The Race Across the Sky." Leadville Colorado is the highest incorporated town in the United States, at 10,200 feet. The race is 50 miles out and back in the midst of the rugged Colorado Rockies. The lowest point is 9,200 feet and the highest point is Hope Pass, 12,600 feet. The majority of the race is on forest trails...some that don't seem like trails at all. The commulative elevation gain is about 14,000 feet. Besides the exhausting distance, the excruciating climbs, and the bone crushing descents, weather is another major hazard. Racers in the past have had to endure dangerous storms...severe lightening, rain, sleet, even snow...temps that could dip into the 20s and 30s on the high passes, and still be quite hot lower down.
Training for this type of a race is extremely time consuming and all encompassing. For most people, it requires a lifestyle change, and a total commitment above all else. I've always taken pride in never quite giving up my fun lifestyle, and still being able to finish. During this training, I've developed a whole new appreciation and admiration for those people who are married, and have families, and still make the time to hit that road and log in those crucial training miles. The past 4 or 5 months, I've been lucky enough to be in a great relationship. I wouldn't trade it for anything, but wow, it's been so much harder to stay motivated for training, when I have so many more enjoyable things to do than working out so hard. Let's see.....I could lay on the beach here, with my beautiful Chelsea...or get up and run 5 hours solo on the highway in the 100 degree heat???...hmmm...choices, choices.... I'm afraid that on more than a few occasions, I chose to keep my butt right where it was, and blow off my runs. To her credit, Chelsea actually ran quite a bit of my smaller runs of 6-10 miles with me, but I don't know anyone that would run 20-30 miles once a week...at least nobody with any kind of sense. So for this race, training has been extremely difficult, more so in motivation than in the actual physical aspect.
I've finished every single race that I've ever entered...from 5K to 135 miles...summited each mountain I've attempted....from over 14,000 feet to almost 20,000 feet. I'm not being dramatic by saying that I'm really afraid that I'm not ready for this race. I'd hate to think my streak could end, but DC and the beach are not the ideal places to train for a mountain race at altitude...not to mention the fact that I haven't even run enough flat miles of training. Nevertheless, I believe that I have the ability to suck it up, and block out the pain, and I'm capable of simply putting one foot in front of the other when it's all on the line. I believe that my heart can take over where my skills leave off, and that I can continue on, even when my body is past it's limit....at least that's what I'm banking on, and soon enough, I'll find out again. But like I've said in the past, if I was sure I could do it, then what would be the point. It's that unknown that makes the challange so alluring!
So once again, if you can keep me in your thoughts and prayers, I would really appreciate it....because I'm gonna need every bit of positive energy sent my way. At midnight on the 21st, as most of you are comfortably sleeping (or out on the town like I wish I was doing), I'll have been running for 20 hours straight hours....,and I'll still be running right through the cold night, with nothing but my small headlamp lighting the path for my stumbling feet to follow. It's during this time that I'll need all my mental strength to make it to sunrise. We've got 36 hours to finish, and I imagine I'll need just about every minute of that 36 hours to get across the line... if my body holds out that long!
Many of you that have read my previous race emails, know that I've dedicated many of the races to my father. The greatest moment of my life was when he was standing on the finish line, with outstretched hands, as I finished the Hawaii Ironman. I'm sad to announce that he passed away suddenly in his sleep a few months ago. He was 87 years old. He was a WWII veteran, POW, Silver Star recipient. He was a great man, who had a great life with no regrets. He was my hero and I'm going to miss him dearly. It was my dad who motivated me to finish a lot of my events. I know that he's no longer with me physically, but I'm confident that he's still right here with me spiritually. I have a strange feeling that I'll be talking with him when things get really rough in Leadville....I hope so...
To all the pilots and flight attendant on my email list:
I hope you're pleased with what my company has done in Charlotte and although I can't mention it yet, I hope to be taking over another big city airport in a couple months!!!
below is a link to something my dad and I were involved with:
also attached is photo of my dad and I at opening of the WWII Memorial
GET OUT THERE AND CROSS SOMETHING OFF YOUR LIFE LIST!!!!