Wednesday, August 22, 2012

LAVS 500K - Part 2: Getting To The Ferry

Figuratively and Literally - Getting to the Ferry Is Everything.  
Figuratively, my own journey to the ferry began when I started running. I say that because it was clear to me from the start that (ultimately), running is an expression of self transcendence. By its nature, running is about pushing beyond personal limits.

However, to be honest, I never really experienced the "transcendence" part of running until I began running ultramarathons. The reason for that, I believe, is that it takes something extraordinary, epic even, to truly push you to your limits.  And part of that is that you can't be sure you can actually do it.

Literally, it took me about a year to get to the ferry. About this time last year, I sat reading Naresh's Vol State race report, just like you're reading mine now. In his report there is a quote from Laz, which, if you are the type of person Vol State calls to, will make running this race truly irrisistable:

a run like this is not just a race
it can be (is) a life changing experience.
vol state is a journey thru personal hell
you WILL be discouraged.
you WILL feel self doubt.
you WILL want to quit.
but if you persevere.
if you dog it out, step by step.
you will find in yourself a strength you never knew existed.
the vol-state is not a time to be concerned about teaching the young or helping out friends.
you will need every ounce of your mental toughness just to reach the rock

As soon as I finished Naresh's incredible account of his experiences last year, I knew I was in.  I remember I texted Charles and said something like, "Sorry, honey, but I'm (we're) gonna have to take 10 days off in July." 

Fast forward 11 months. 

As Vol State neared, the race weighed heavily on me. The race was here, but I was in a position where I couldn't afford the expense of food and lodging for 7-10 days plus the time off. I struggled with the decision because given the circumstances, doing something of this magnitude wasn't the responsible thing to do. For a couple of weeks, I went back and forth with my decision.

Then, one day I came across an email from Jason Sullivan that had gone to spam that I had never read. It was from the Foothills List, and it was about Angela Ivory. Angela lost her battle with cancer in May after a long fight, and although I didn't know Angela on a deeply personal level, if you ever met her, or even knew of her- you could not help but be moved by her story. In this email, Jason talked about how Angela had always wanted to run the Foothills Trail, and how he had told her he would run it with her. Now he would never share that victory with her. 

Angela's desire to run the Foothills Trail is something I didn't know about her, and for some reason (even now) I am deeply moved by Jason's heart felt words. I started thinking. Who knows what next year will bring.  All I know is that THIS year I have an opportunity to do this race because Leopold is able to stay with his dad - who is also fighting cancer. THIS YEAR, I'm able to take the time off from work.

In that moment, I decided to refuse to look back and wish that I had done this race. That is not the life I want to live. Right or wrong, I decided to run and live with the consequences.

Smartest thing I ever did, too.


  1. This is part 2 . . . somehow I missed part 1 . . .

    I'm looking forward to this race report!!! :-)

  2. Psyche,
    Way to go for it! You are right -- we don't know what next year will bring. If you are going to grab life, you have to grab it before it slips through your fingers...