Saturday, June 30, 2007

2007 Western States 100 race report

I have always listened to my heart and only on rare occasions has it led me down a path of hurt and pain. More so than not the gamble has been worth the risk and the outcome has been fruitful and rewarding. There are very few people who understand what burns deep within my soul and how I process my thoughts into actions. Those people are the very same people who I call my close friends and they are also the reason I chose to participate in the 2007 edition of the Western States 100 mile endurance run.

In July of 2006 I made a promise to myself that I would never again run in a 100 mile race but when my friends survived the lottery and gained entry into States I had a burning desire to be there as well. Nine years of running in 100 mile events has broken my body down into a shell of what it used to be but I was certain I still had one more run left in me. My mind told me not to go but my heart said run. It wasn’t about the run or the scenery or the sense of satisfaction gained from the achievement but rather the feeling obtained when surrounded by people who honestly care about one another and sacrifice for the sake of others. I longed for one more time running in the mountains where fantasies can come true and the impossible can be achieved.

My decision made it was now time to make my way to Squaw Valley, California to do battle with the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains. I would not be alone as in my heart I knew the spirits of those of my family who have past before me would guide me through my journey and comfort me through the challenges that lay ahead. By my side would also be two very good friends, Rick and Lisa, both of whom have gained my trust and admiration. I met Lisa in 2005 when I paced her at Western States and immediately formed a bond with her that has only become stronger since that weekend in June. Rick and I became friends that very same year when he sacrificed an entire day, running, riding and crawling with me for 24 straight hours to raise funds for a charitable cause. We have been inseparable since that day. Both have very big hearts and both have taught me many lessons that have allowed me to open up and be the person I am today.

Read more here

Report by my pacer Lisa Bliss

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Western States Dedication

Both of my brothers are very special to me. In some ways we are quite different but what lays deep inside our hearts is the same. My older brother is smart and logical while my younger brother is outgoing and personable leaving me as quiet and somewhat shy. Though we have different personalities each of the three of us is willing to take risks in order to experience the most out of life.

While I believe in stability I also believe that there are times when risk must be considered for it is the only way to improve the quality of my life. My brothers recently demonstrated through their own actions that they too share this same quality that I possess. I was very proud of both as each made critical decisions that will change their lives forever.

My older brother, at 43 years of age, had hip replacement surgery. He easily could have opted for physical therapy which ultimately would have allowed him to function normally but restricted physical activity. As an active guy this was not an option so he took the risk associated with surgery and gambled that a new hip would allow him to once again participate actively in sports. Since the surgery was recent the verdict is still out but I have no doubt that he will follow the guidance given to him, work hard and successfully regain strength.

My younger brother recently accepted a position with a new company after 12 years of service with his previous employer. In his case he had to take the risk for the challenge set before him was not enough to satisfy his needs. That being said he easily could have made the choice to stay with his old employer. His reputation was solid, he gained the respect of his peers, and he loved his work. He stepped out of his comfort zone because he looks beyond what is expected of him and desires to make a better life for him and his family. Comfort comes from stability which most desire yet in order to improve sometimes risks must be taken and risks lead to discomfort.

Both of my brothers have risked their own comfort in order to improve their quality of life. They are good role models for me and for this I dedicate my race at Western States to both of them. They will both be successful and will ultimately reap the rewards from their risks. I hope that the risk I take at States will also reap similar rewards. As I've hobbled through my training runs I couldn't help but wonder if I even have any business being there. Though my leg says no my heart says yes and the heart has the final say.

Dave B.