September as whole has been such a wonderful mix of pain, suffering and enlightenment.
As I found myself unable to run as I usually do I turned to food. With no huge calorie burns to be had I have sweated away lifting weights and using the hand crank. As much as this sounds enjoyable its not. I dont try and fact that I am at a runner at heart.
Maybe September 10th or so the wheels stared to come off again. I was not eating bad and I was working out but running was lacking. What ended up happening could have been just what I needed. As I began to focus my time on other things like work I noticed that the stress of my job wasnt what I wanted.
What I want to do is run for a living, do what I want and lead the Houston Area Trail Runners. This sounds like such a far fetched goal as soon as we start talking about bills, money and every other excuse we try and find to not follow our hearts.
In this time period as usual I find opposition to what I do with the Houston Area Trail Runners. I am vigorously defensive over our group and cannot stand when I see people take shots at our group. I am the first person to admit that I am wrong in a situation but to just nit pick our group seems so pointless when the whole reason to have a group is to PROMOTE trail running, volunteering and build a family to run with. So this was also a burden that I seemed to be carrying on as well.
As the days became longer I was able to secure some new deals for the HATR club and I also began to ponder if I was making a big enough impact right now. In talking to my wife I told her that I wanted to me used more and less focused on my JOB. She encouraged me that soon enough I would have a chance to volunteer more, give back and maybe do more with the running community.
So with no running and not using food to soothe my emotions I found what I was looking for. The cover up was that I wasnt happy with my job and that the stress that it places on me working 6-7 days a week wasnt what i wanted in this life. I need to be happy, to be free and to be used for positive things. The days of caring about income, new crap and more things were fading fast.
So last week started off with the same swirls in my mind. I kept remembering this quote ” Stop buying things with your life and start buying experiences”.. It kept coming back to me over and over. Monday-Tuesday i dont think I slept. My mind was on overdrive and my stomach was a mix of anxiety and nerves. As I talked over the struggles with Jose and my wife I began to make plans. Plans for change. So on last Tuesday night I had the final conversation with my wife. We made a list of bills, expenses and realistically what we make. It didnt take long for me to realize that I am capable of this. That freedom was only a notice away.
So the only thing I had to do was speak my mind. Which I did. Now the story should end with how happy I am and how I quit my job. What happened is that my hard work paid off and I was able to get do what I love and hold the position that I have. The best of both worlds. This also gives me ample time to pursue other interests that I need to make my life complete and also time off to run/race/see the world.
So as my joy began to fill my heart again I got to go lead my group to a race on Saturday. The greatest way to be inspired is to see people fulfill their dreams. Its easy essentially. You watch a persons eyes after they have run something they didnt think they could its like watching someone see a rainbow for the first time.
As I stepped into the role of team mom I saw nothing but greatness. I watched a young woman who I had seen race a few months ago (dry heaving, sick and hurting through a 30k) come back and show the power of human spirit. As she came into the halfway points she was full of fire. Ready to attach the last half of the race and get what was hers. When she finished she looked like what I think we should all look like when we finish something great. She was exhausted, wobbly and coming in with 100%. Her speech was slurred with pure amazement of what she had done and her eyes looked like they were trying to find a place to rest since the chemicals that were in her brain were filling her with overwhelming emotion. This is inspiration.
I watched another one of my runners who I coach fly in to a great race and secure her place as the 2nd female in the sub ultra division. As we talk I always remind me of what a purely great runners she is . She passes this off so easily but I know what I see. I see someone who I would run through hell with and she wouldnt quit on me. She inspires me with every step she takes.
I had the chance to watch another runner run his first 10k. With fear and uncertainty is his eyes he fought till the end. Finished his first 10k, a night dodging rattle snakes. It takes a lot to leave your family at home, drive 3 hours and run at night. Just to say you did it. Inspired.
I watched the son of the man who changed my life run his first 30km. At my first race his dad taught me life lessons on my first ultra and I looked at him like a saint at the time. Now I watched his father pace him to a finish that I dont know if he knew he had. After the race his father gently place his hand on his sons back to let him know he did a great job. It made me think of how much love that shows from a father to a son.
Another one our runners with family watching him pulled out a performance that he didnt think he had. Ran strong all day, despite a messed up finger, a fall he worked the course. Attacking at all costs. All to come in with a PR in front of his wife, his kids and for himself. Thats BIG time.
As i watched these i spoke to a newly 16 year old boy. Tells me stories of running for his father who is in the military now. Says he has run races with his dad and for his dad. That he commits some of his runs in honor of him. He tells me cactus 100 is in his plans. I am floored. By the commitment, the genuine spirit of a boy and his fight to honor his father.
As I watched one of my best friends pace in a wonderful woman I start to imagine what she is overcoming. I know that people like to be strong, silent about their issues. But honestly some things you cant hide. So when you see people that are pushing their bodies beyond the breaking point is the purest form of inspiration.
2 of our members decide to run their first ultras. Watching them was like watching my own children at times. Watching my clock every minute wondering how they were. Hoping that I had given them enough information that they needed to help them. But there they came RUNNING to the end. I cant tell you how amazing it is to see people accomplishing things they didnt think were possible. This is what makes me love my life, my runners and my group. The human spirit is something that is so powerful that we often underestimate it. As these events our happening I feel my own levels to increase. My sense of adventure as a person and runner seemed to be in tune.
So as I spoke to my friend this weekend it had been decided to do something “crazy”. Which in reality means spontaneous. With my wifes blessings I take the plunge. I know my foot is good to go. I am baby this thing as much as I can but this friday I am confident that I will be cleared to run.
This september marks 2 special dates in 1.
5 years ago at 347 my one of my best Friend told me that I was going downhill and to change my life. His words fueled the start of my transformation which i am eternally grateful for.
1 year ago he came back to me and asked for my help getting into ultras.
We have been there along with our other friend Jeremy with all this ultra running and trail club.
So September 28th the 3 of us will be heading to Vail Colorado to go to the UROC 100k. This is the race where the best in the world line up to run 60+ Colorado Mountains. A great vacation to watch the best. Sounds great right.. Well watching people complete their goals and inspire me left me wanting more.
I will be lining up that day on that starting line. 100k of all i have. Next to Kilian, Anton and the best in the world.
Thank you for my grateful wife, my friends/family and my fellow HATRs. I love you all with all that i have.