I very rarely read my own stories but when I do I realize just how lucky I have been. I sit here today with the knowledge that I have had a great life. I am a simple guy who has very little in the form of worldly possessions but I have been given the opportunity to view the world from a different perspective than most. Amongst many other things I have seen the beautiful nighttime sky of Death Valley, a pair of eerie eyes staring back at me upon the mountainside of Northern Virginia, rattlesnakes, scorpions, and tarantulas in their native habitat. I have been given the ability to see the beauty of my surroundings while still satisfying my innate desire to run competitively. I am able to walk away from every race with vivid memories of the scenery and each and every step that I took a long the way. I have been given the ability to share those memories through the written word so that my family and friends feel as though they were by my side. Though I write I very rarely talk about my experiences in the many desolate mountain ranges and deserts in which I’ve traveled. I’m very open and would enjoy speaking but what I speak could not be understood by just anybody. Talk of physical and mental pain that generate whines and cries in the night does not equate to fun for those who do not understand the satisfaction gained from overcoming every challenge. Only those who have been there can understand the deep personal feeling obtained from being one of the few to cross the finish line. It’s not a talent or a skill but rather it is determination and courage. There is always more than one champion in a race for each and every person who crosses the finish line did so because they conditioned their mind as well as their body while overcoming every challenge. Champions are not born but instead they are developed. They listen, they observe, they implement and they execute. Though I know the sport can be brutal I will always encourage other people to step outside the box and take life to another level by making an attempt at an ultra marathon. I have lived my dream for I know that no matter what happens in my lifetime I will have memories that will always warm my heart.