When things get tough (& they ALWAYS DO), how far does one really push? When we are faced by what seems to be a "boundary" against which we are determined to break through; at what point is it fruitless & does not really have to do with our innate capacity to break through? When does it make sense to make a wise choice when there is nothing to prove (to others AND to ourselves)?
Well such was the case in this year's Pumpkin Holler Hunnerd. Our intention - to successfully complete our 2nd 100 mile run. Often times, even the best laid plans need to be flexibile. Everything was in place, fully stocked supplies & a ready crew (thanks Skip) & pacers for the second loop (Mitch Drummond) as well as the final loop (Tom Wozencraft). It was a well designed course. For us 100 milers, it consisted of a 8 mile out & back (thanks to our race director, he threw in an extra mile - Thanks Ken) followed by (3) 31 mile (50K) loops.
After the typical per-race jitters, we were off on our journey.
At the top of the first out & back found Mitch serving up waffles for hungry runners. (BTW - did I say "top"? Listed as "rolling hills" & a fast course this was the first of many, many hills.
As the day unfolded, the nature of the course began to sink in.
Rolling Hills - NOT! Gravel - NOT!
The course was beautiful. Scenic country vistas along the Illinois River, lakes & ponds (& an occasional dog).
It was the surrounding beauty that helped take my mind off of the grueling course.
After the first loop, I was joined by Mitch as my pacer only to find out that Tom had car problems & would not be able to make it to pace me for my 3rd & final loop (bummer!).
As the sun went down, Mitch & I ran through the night. It is amazing what one talks about when you are out in the country running for hours on end. Things from chicken farming to the fact that I w graduated High School with his wife.
Bathtub Rock was beautiful the first loop but seemed a bit more treacherous at night when I was tired & sore. I DID NOT want a bath at that moment.
The end of the second loop was rough. Hips hurt, knees hurt feet h . . . well, my feet were actually fine.
We came into the Start/Finish around 7 AM in fairly good shape. Mitch had completed his first 50K & with my little 8 mile out & back at the start, I had made 70 miles. Doing the math, we determined that my 3rd & final loop to complete my 100 miler WAS NOT going to happen. I would have had to pull an 8 hour loop - - NOT!
Here is where the "pushing" part comes in. I had no doubt that I cold make a 3rd loop but NOT in 8 hours. It was the wisdom that I had not left anything on the table, made my best effort & pulled a 70 miler.
I was happy (although a bit disappointed & wiped out) as this time, the course won.
Watch out though as Know No Boundaries WILL beat this next time. (May even have revenge this year!)
I want to relate a story about a very good friend of mine who has been a tremendous inspiration to me and a shining example of breaking through self set, self limiting boundaries & even boundaries that may have been imposed by society to achieve a phenomenal goal.
We will call him "John" so as not to embarrass him or cause him any uncomfort.
"John" came into my life through a faulty tail light on my wife's car that was taken to Wal Mart for repair. "John" did not normally work there, but due to a temporary leave o
f absence from his regular job, was the one who took care of my wife. "John" had been looking for a church & just happened to see a window sticker on our car that peaked his interest. Fast forward a year or so, now "John" & his family have joined our church & we have become good friends.
Now "John" was not always this way. In his past life", "John" was very active in a number of biker groups; you know, the ones you REALLY FEAR! "John" was definitely a different person than he is now. Turning his life around, focusing on his family & strengthening his spiritual side in & of itself is a tremendous inspiration but is not the point of this writing.
In my ramblings about marathons & ultra marathons, "John" decided that he wanted to run a marathon some time next year. He went to one of our local running stores & after looking over the plethora of running shoes, picked a pair & started on his journey.
"John" made out a running schedule to plot out his daily runs & weekend long run. He was spending more & more time out on the trails & alone with time to ponder the worlds problems, think about what he is thankful for & have some quiet time to pray. There was the odd encounter with shadows (oh yea, it was not a shadow but a skunk - maybe I ought to leave this for another post), dear & time with his daughter as she rode along side on her bicycle.
Convincing me to run the Warrior Dash with him September 24th, we had a BLAST running & climbing at Turkey Mountain.
"John" had planned on running the 10K at the Route 66 Marathon this November but with his distance up to about 8 miles now (& further by November), he will likely sign up for the 1/2 Marathon.
His marathon debut will be some time in 2012 (possibly the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon in April).
Coming from where "John" came from to running his first marathon (& hopefully not his last if I can help it), he has truly broken thorough his old self into a new person (& one that I feel blessed to be able to call a friend).
"John" will also be crewing for me when Know No Boundaries runs our 2nd 100 mile run on October 15th & 16th at the Pumpkin Holler Hunnerd.
Thank you "John" for being my friend & a true inspiration.
I am happily married to Betty & have (2) children; Michael & Christina. I founded a non profit foundation (Know No Boundaries) in 2009 whose mission it is to help people "break out" of their self set limitations or boundaries. Additionally, I started an umbrella organization; Dunamis Extreme; in order to share the AWESOME Power of God. Not only in ultra endurance events, but in life!