Gratitude, All Year Long (and Into Next Year…)

I’m so very grateful for this past year and all the amazing running adventures I’ve been lucky to take part in;

-chasing a new 50k PR at Chabot (and just missing it by less than 3 minutes!)

– getting redemption at the Lake Sonoma 50 (and being “pushed” across the finish line by my buddy Kevin)

– having a blast at the Miwok 100k (that race is a party, what a fun time)

– finishing my first hundred miler down at the San Diego 100 in Lake Cuyamaca (getting the chance to share that with my awesome crew/pacers)

– getting to run my third Skyline 50k (and learning another lesson in the process)

– having such a good time racing for five hours (just missed it!) at the Coastal 50k and sharing in the awesome post-race vibe at Rodeo Beach with wonderful “ultra” folks

– all the epic Thursday night runs with Jimmy, Carl and Lucas, et. al.

– finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention running up and down Mt. Whitney and a super fun run up Shepherd’s Pass Trail in the majestic eastern Sierras

As I’ve turned my focus to one last 50-miler for 2014 (The North Face, one week from today), I’m reminded how much joy running has brought me and how far I’ve come because of running.

Running has brought me a little more calm, a little more discipline and little more stick-to-it-iveness than I had before I started this journey.

Getting up early; keeping an obsessive journal of miles, time, pace and elevation gain; sticking to a training plan day-in and day-out; making it out for group runs; making new friends on the trails; all that stuff that helps make me a better version of myself than the me I was four years ago.

There’s also the idea that in order to truly grow in this sport you have to accept and take on new challenges, just like in life- adapt or stay stagnant; the battle between growth vs. fixed-mind set.

I’ve written before that (I’m paraphrasing here) “I hope I never run a road race like a marathon or Badwater, blah blah blah; I want to be all about the trails yadda yadda yadda…” but looking back on that juvenile stance I can see that it’s really just my fear talking.

I’m actually scared to run a road marathon.

26.2 miles at the top end of your speed? That’s some truly terrifying shit. I hid behind the “I’d rather see mud and rocks and trees and talk to folks and laugh at aid stations” line but in actuality I’m so frightened to go out and give it everything I got for three hours.

I’ve run a lot of ultras and plan on running more, they’re not going anywhere, and judging from the growing popularity of the sport I’d say there will be more to choose from in the coming years.

I’ve got four tickets in the Western States lottery this year, if I get in that’s awesome; if not- I’ll have 5 tickets for next year.

That race isn’t going anywhere.

I can still run another 100 next year. I’ll definitely run a few 50 milers, hopefully a few 100ks, maybe a 50k or two, I’m not going to lose the “ultrarunner” tag because I ran a few road races. If anything, I’m hoping to become a more well-rounded runner.

But a road marathon? Yes, I’m going to try to run a road marathon. For this upcoming March I signed up for the LA Marathon. I think of all my favorite ultrarunners, the guys and gals I look up to in this sport; the Max Kings, Ian Sharmans, Pam Smiths and Mike Wardians; guys like Brett and Jorge from SFRC; people that just love to run, any distance, any surface, anywhere, any time.

I’d love to look at myself as a runner rather than “just” a long trail runner.

But here’s the kicker; I’m not running this race just for me. I’m running it for a charity called Back On My Feet. I thought if I was going to do something so far outside of my comfort zone, I might as well do it in epic fashion.

Meaning; bringing along as many people as I can- rather; doing this for as many people as I possibly can.

Here’s the donation link: Jimmy Mac’s Fundraising Page

I know, it’s the holiday season and we’re all strapped for cash, but a $3, $5 or a $20 donation helps me get closer and closer to my goal.

I’m grateful for the chance to do this and grateful for the ability to do it. I’m grateful for all the joy and camaraderie running has brought into my life; as well as the fear and vulnerability that shows up, the uncomfortable voice that nudges me towards “change”.

And in turn I hope that change can help others, just a little bit.

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