Houston, We have a problem.
I have been hard headed all my life. People in grade school told me that I my mouth would get me in trouble. My parents at age 7 told me that I was on my own. I lived in 3rd ward at the age of 18 while attending U of H because I was kicked out of my house for having a bible. I was told to quit trying to do all these seemingly difficult tasks on just 1 knee and just get surgery already.
You know I am old enough, humble enough and smart enough to know when I am wrong. I dont have to know the reasons, the stars dont align or the micro causes to see the path in front of me.
There are many people, maybe hundreds who read this and say I told you so… and for that you are right if only this time. I thought of all of these people as my right knee started swelling at mile 4. I thought of how foolish I was to be out here chasing down a dream. A dream that would be hard enough with 2 legs much less just 1.. But you know I have always learned through experience.
I do not have the capability in life to just take someones word for it.. I never have. I want to see how I would react, how I would feel and how I would change.
But the truth is that i planned for the explosion. I purposely didnt invite friends, my wife or a crew with me to Javelina Jundred. I have learned long ago with this knee that wasting peoples time dosent help my cause. I have learned that with this knee its best left up to me and myself to win or lose.
But in my heart as soon as we hit the sandy washout areas of the trail i could feel the instability in my knee almost within the first 2 miles. I have had the displeasure of DNF Grasslands 3 years in a row. once because i broke my foot and the other 2 because of the same soil that wrecked my knee and ripped my flexors to shreds. This was no different. By mile 7 I was hurting.. Mile 14 i swore i would drop.. And at mile 15 well i was ready to end the day.
I mean I felt so bad that when I saw anyone at the aid stations that worked for Ultrasportslive.tv (as do i) i would ask them how they were doing and how the broadcast was going… as if i was just working that day. It was my way of trying to not talk about the fact that i was hurting so much.
Loop 2 was a death march. I questioned every step, i stopped to stretch and walked it all. The over compensating went from right knee to left flexor, to right flexor to left knee.. As I headed in to the 31 mile mark there was very little doubt that i would move out of there. But Javelina is a party and for some reason I thought i would muster 2 more laps of this..
I headed out for loop 3 with a smile.. it didnt last a mile. Once back out on the trail my hopes for maybe some relief faded fast. My feet started to really ache and my legs became a magma field. I couldnt get up the up hills without hurting and the downhills had me holding pee in from the pain. I remember getting about 3 miles out and seeing the 3 mile sign to take the short cut back in. It was like the DNF road was right there. 3.0 to DNF or 3.2 to mile 40 aid station. I sat down and just took a few minutes to look at the desert for awhile. Watching the beautiful desert sky dance over the cactus. As i pushed to get up my knee gave out on me.. I hobbled up and thought lets go for 40…
And that is why I am hard headed… 37 to 40 miles were the hardest 3 miles of my life. I regretted every step of every one of them. At mile 40 i found the usl crew. I dropped. I found out the next day had i completed the lap and another i would have gotten a 100k buckle. I laughed on the way home thinking that would have been funny to let my ego get that and prove that it was all worth it to somebody.. The truth is that my goal was to get the 100 miler finish and a chance for Western States. The sad part is that both of those goals had about a 1% chance of happening before I ever hit the line. And even if i did get into western states 2015 i could only had imagined the shit show i would have put on the line that day.
But I dont look at Javelina Jundred in a negative light at all. After my DNF i called home to let Rachel know I was done. We talked for a few moments and she said well 40 isnt that bad babe, its the longest you have gone all year… I laughed and thought it is the longest in a race i have gone.. What an ultra runner I have become… I smiled told her I loved her and watched Dominic Grossman rock the PA system like a stand up comedian at an open mic night..
I dont normally name drop in my blogs. A) because I would hate for someone to not be genuine because they think I would say something in my blog B) i dont think its that attractive to drop names all over your blog to seem interesting..
but who cares right.. lets do it.
Javelina Jundred was the best experience i have had all year at a race. I was able to spend a few days with the USL.tv crew as well as Victor B and Myles who arent always with us. We spend the first night at Dennys laughing about trail running, business and just shooting the crap about everything. That lasted the better part of the night and the next day as well.
The beer mile was a blast to cover live and to interview people for usl.tv. I finally got to meet patrick sweeney who is a TROT sponsored athlete this year as he plans to run across the country jan 2015. I was very happy to see so many people giving donations as well to benefit the Tarahumara.
I was most happy to meet and see the Tarahumara Indians in person. They did a ball game demonstration called RARAJIPARI which we were able to capture live as well. Born to Run was the first running book I read and to meet Miguel Lara, Arnulfo was a dream come true for me as a runner.
On race day I had the chance as most do to run with Gordy and Catra. Ken Michal even commented on my nice wobble that i called running haha.
I though really enjoyed despite being in horrid pain cheering on the runners that I knew personally as they looped me OVER and OVER.. Catlow Shipek the eventually winner was flying around and it was really fun to cheer him on as he was always smiling. Miguel Lara who was 2nd i would slap hands with as he ran by me… Micheal Carson who is a super funny guy that I met at Flagstaff I would yell at and at one point i heard this loud I LOVE YOU ROB from behind i was like wtf… ohhh Micheal Carson cruising on by for his eventually 4th place. And then there was the Pixie Ninja Kaci Lickteig swallowing up the boys all day. We said hi along the way and i think right before my 40 mile which was probably her 70 mile we chatted for a minute or so about the experience at JJ100 no matter good or bad..
As the night fell It was great seeing everyone come in and finish. The awards were really great and it was just fun to sit down and enjoy the party for a minute. I was able to meet and chat with Mark from Ultrasignup which was such a great time to talk and laugh about the current DNF fun.After the front runners were done I had a change to eat the Coury Brothers Pizza which is Called Freak Brothers Pizza. Kaci was waiting as well. We chatted about Nebraska, Her visits to Houston, Mutual Friends and life in general. We met Ed Nusbaum as well as he was sitting across from us. We chatted for what seemed like hours over the BEST PIZZA EVER… eventhough it was like 15 minutes. As i came back to the starting line I shook Jamil Courys hand. I told him that I though Western States was the most prestigious race I had ever been to but Javelina Jundred was the BEST set up race that I had ever seen.
As i sat back down in my chair with a full belly I had some time to digest the day and the experience.
I have truly never met greater people in life than on the trails. As shitty as my day was it really didnt matter. I was able to spend the weekend with like minded people who live life. Multiple times over the weekend I spoke with people about how trail racing is “real life”… The people that are there working, running, volunteering they all GET IT..
Life happens on those trails when we race. We get to get out there and strip ourselves emotionally and really dive into our own souls. The experience we have no matter good or bad changes us…
I left the next morning one day early to see my wife. This trip was one that was bittersweet to leave and I hurried to get home. Along the 10 hour drive from el paso to houston on monday morning a friend asked me what I do when I drive that long. I told him I think a lot about life and make to do lists.
As I hit the door the hall way is filled with boxes for our next race. The Coury brothers put on the greatest trail show i have ever seen. Its time for me to do my part and put the best race I can for my runners as well.