Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sincere Thanks

In March 2007, I ran my first ultramarathon in Waco, Texas.  The Waco 5-0 (now called the Toughest N' Texas) was a small trail run in Cameron Park consisting of three 10 mile loops.  Early in the run, I hooked up with a runner from Houston appropriately named Miles.  We stayed together for most of the first loop. 

During that time, Miles encouraged me to run Bandera.  So ten months later, I headed deep into the hill country, where I completed a tough 50 km trail run.  And Miles was there.  We talked about Rocky Raccoon, and in February 2008, I toed the line and finished Rocky's 50 mile event.  And Miles was there, running the 100 mile event and coming home with a belt buckle. 

The next year, I did the Waco 5-0 again, and again, I found myself running with Miles.  We talked about his 100 mile race, and I told him I was thinking about trying for 100 miles at Rocky Raccoon in 2009.  To prepare, I signed up for a series of races during the winter of 2008 and early 2009--the Ultracentric, Sunmart, and Bandera. 

At Sunmart, Miles and I found ourselves running a couple laps together during the 50 mile race. 

The next month, we hooked up for the last 10 miles or so of Bandera and death-marched our way to the finish line. 

At Rocky Raccoon, we shared a pre-race dinner and discussed our plans for finishing the next day's 100 mile run.  Unfortunately, we both fell short. 

When I signed up for the Heartland 100, it was no surprise that Miles enthusiastically agreed to pace me over the final 40 miles.  We traded e-mails and plans throughout the summer.  Miles even made it up to Fort Worth to run El Scorcho Tres.  After that midnight run in July, Miles prepared himself for the Where's Waldo 100K run in Oregon.  Leg issues caused him to drop around mile 44.  And the leg issues lingered, affecting his ability to pace me at Heartland. 

So we adjusted the plan.  Miles moved from pacer to crew.  And he was out there the whole time that I was, meeting me at aid stations, filling my pack with water, encouraging me to keep moving.  He slept in the car, drove across the prairie, and did everything in his power to ensure a successful finish.  And we finished.  I could not have done it without him. 

It's amazing how we've bonded over the past two years almost exclusively on our enjoyment of the misery and the ecstasy that comes from running ridiculously excessive distances.  The people you meet on the trail can become some of your best friends, even if your shared experiences are limited to the despair and the delight of ultramarathoning.

Thank you, Miles.

p.s. Heartland race report coming eventually, amigos....

1 comment:

Miles said...

My pleasure. And, yes, you could have done it without me! Also, I think had I literally driven across the prairie, it would have been smoother than the backroads of Kansas. Pretty sure I knocked at least a year off the Accord's lifespan...


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