I normally am ready to write a review of a race as soon as I can process the race and get to it. I like to write the write up very candidly with emotion and little regard for thought out notes..
So it has been bending around my mind on how to address this race review. After read 2 great blogs on this race one from the super bad ass Lisa D HERE and my partner in crimes Jose HERE I was still undecided on how to fully approach it so here it goes with what will be probably the shortest race report I can muster haha.
I only ran Wild Hare for two reasons and that was to fulfill a promise to a good friend and member Laura which was to get her to her first ultra finish and then to celebrate Lisa D’s Birthday. That was at least what I thought.
I have been helping/coaching Laura for a few months now as I use the term coaching lightly. Lets just say advising along the way. When I met her many moons ago she told me she wanted to get to the finish of an ultra this year. I told her Wild hare and it was decided. Now I had an obligation to help her get this goal. So as the days leading up to the race Laura and I speak about game plan, not taking it out to fast etc.
But something happens a few days before the race that puzzles me. I am not feeling emotional attached to this race at all. It is an odd feeling for me not to be competitive. Its a foreign place. It makes no sense. Even the night before my wife ask me how I feel and I tell her that I am over the race. That I am ready to be back home and get back to training. Its an odd feeling and I hadnt figure out if I am trying to protect myself or what the fk I am thinking at this point. I just know that I have never paced anyone to a finish. I have no clue how to do this.. what if my knee goes crazy, what if she needs me and i cant be there. WTF did I just sign up for…..
As well as preparing to run we are preparing for the festivities of LISA “Crazy” D’s bday. My wife had it planned to make 3 pies because LISA thinks cakes are shit…. I disagree but its not my birthday is it.. I hit up party city. As i am roaming the isles trying to find stuff to wear like Leis I get some plastic ones and find a nice one for Lisa. I get some baking pans and then I lay eyes on my masterpiece… The HAPPY BIRTHDAY PRINCESS FOAM HAT…. like finding money in the street i tell you. pure fking magic….. I know with those kind words, its foam design and PINK color Lisa will hate this….. this is perfect…. As I chuckle up and down the isles I am set.
We set out Saturday morning at 3am with my house in a car. My wife driving, 2 dogs, 1 9 year old boy, 3 pies, bday celebration packed and 2 boxes of HATR shirts and my crap… holy shit thats alot of crap to me..
Once at the ranch time to get moving… As Jose and I set up the tent it seems like seconds before the HATR NATION is around… I am feeling good even get in a morning #2 which is the sign of a empty tank ready to roll.
I see Lisa and am able to hand off the lei and the hat. I thought i sensed some hatred to the hat which made the gift that more special in my heart. Jose and Lisa kick out and Laura is soon to come up…. 40 min early you say… New fking record since Laura likes to walk from car to starting line with seconds to spare normally. I get a chance to laugh and see everyone as they get ready to rock their respected distances on the course.
So I feel good the day is where I want it to be… But there is something for me that is missing. This just dosent feel right for me…. And in those probably 15 minutes before the race I kind of think I narrow it down…. Its been a while since I got a medal. I have been stricken with some injuries and this year which I wanted to be my “grand entrance” into ultras… has been an entrance into the world of patience, recovering and understanding… Its been a year though of celebrating a Club that has meant the world to me though… So it kind of hit me then that this was a race that I did need for myself. I needed a win. I needed a finish. I needed to finish the year with a positive note.. just like it started.
As we came into loop 2 a few of us HATRs in tow. Laura began to have problems with her GI.. She sat in the tent, spoke the words of quitting. I told her just to wait. Have a seat lets take some time. I wont lie to you it actually made me very nervous to hear her want to quit. I began to get very anxious because without her why was I here…? THis is why I am here… This was my mission.. I caught myself very quickly in this fleeting moment and reminded myself to shut the fk up and stay on track. Just hearing the words i want to quit made me lose my own faith in this race. I knew where this would go. Luckily for the both of us Laura said well I will walk and I said lets go..
From that loop 3 to the first aid station was my darkest hours. I hated it. 3.whatever mileage could have been a million… For some reason my mind started to wonder the land of feel sorry and frustration. I was frustrated at times that I couldnt run the downhills or uphills. Frustrated that I saw Mark in front of us and I wanted to go get him… I have never not been competitive and It was hard for me to stay focused. I knew that this would be a mentally challenging race but i let it get to me. As I slogged miles I fell as well. the tell tale sign for me that i wasnt in the moment. I think i fell from a blade of grass that wondered in the trail. So as we slugged to the aid station my mind was numb. I was letting the circumstances eat at me… I didnt want to run anymore… As we reached the aid station my mind did something that Jeremy caught. I starred at the gate the whole time we where there. I starred at it because my mind was telling me to quit. As we left the aid station went down the hill it was still dark. Then i stopped trotting. I walked and I yelled out in front “HEY” as I went to show them the old chop my head off move Jeremy yells heyhey hey hey man come up here…. He stopped me.. I was going to quit….
When I got up to Jeremy I was mad at myself… I was disappointing that I was about to FUCKING quit a race again… I thought how DARE you be so fkin selfish to quit on Laura, myself and to let my family see my quit this race.. I was ashamed of myself. Jeremy told me Rob tell me where going all the way today. I said nothing. I needed to run. For just a few moments in this race I needed to get out of pacing a race and run a race. I took off for a few minutes on my own. Flying the downhill of the ravine area, barely gripping the uphills and I sent my heart rate soaring. This is why I love running. I love the feeling of freedom. And with that fleeting moment the switch was back on.
I enjoyed the end of the 3rd loop as we pressed into the aid station. Laura still hurting committed to walking the 4th loop but she was moving good. As Jeremy and I led up in the aid station I told him to go ahead. I told Laura that I would get her in and I wanted to make sure she was okay the aid station. Along the way another member who was running his first ultra was having some problems behind laura. I told him to just get to me and Id get him in. Laura came by with friend in tow and I told her I was going to wait for Daniel and to go ahead. I watched as my son played football across the fields and enjoyed the atmosphere. As daniel approached he told me about his day. How it was going and that he could barely run.
Well I was full of life so Daniel and I trotted and kept behind Laura and I was happy to see her moving well. We ran a little and walked a little and repeated that a lot. Daniel and I have run a lot together over the past few months and enjoy his company very much. He is normally very cheerful at our 6am runs but he was frowning today. I tried to cheer him up by telling him jokes, telling him proud Kilian would be to see him finish… But daniel is hurting and I can tell. He tells me near the end to go catch Laura and finish with her but I deny him… Laura was going to finish and I was going to finish with Daniel.. The greatest part of Daniel is that as we approach the end he tells me to go first. I told him as we run that I liked him and his gesture is a perfect example of what a man he is… I let him finish first and i cross soon after. I see laura and we hug and I tell her congrats…
I get a chance to see my wife, son and talk to Joe as well. I then get to witness part 2 of the journey. As Lisa leaved for the 6th loop we are very excited to see her and Jose going great. Patty comes in and collects her first Ultra in the meantime and says “it felt like a marathon” hahaha i think that is too funny. As we wait for Jose and Lisa larry flys in and out. We are all just laughing, talking eating etc. As I see the time I start thinking that Lisa and Jose might make the cutoff well.
All of the sudden I see Lisa and Jose come out of the barn 30 min ahead of the cutoff. Lisa is in tears as the overwhelming realization is that she will get the chance to get to the 50 miler. She comes in like a hot mess and we go to work. SHoes, socks, food, stat… Its like a surgical tent in and out and fast. As they start to run out i tell jose to do something great today. as I see Lisa I tell her to GO FKIN EARN IT TODAY…. There is nothing like leaving everything you have for something that you want..
If you are reading this far and havent read Lisa or Joses Blogs then these few words will seem horrific to describe the scene.. I suggest you read them and come back here.
As Lisa’s friends arrive we are all nervous… We are counting minutes wishing and waiting. I tell them I think she will be good at 13:30 so we head over at 13:15…. As the runners come in slowly we are waiting to see our 2… But nothing.. Around 13:45 a young man comes in said there is a guy 2 min behind and a couple 5 min behind him… Well that them they got it. As the guys comes in we are ready… Wesley and I run out to the lake and I hear the call of beaver i think… and all these people go crazy…… i did not… What do you mean this isnt them… its fking 13:52…… as they come in it was a couple i had seen earlier and I was though very happy as she looked like she gave it all she had….
My heart began to sink a little. I thought how sad it would be to see Lisa work her ass off. Throough cancer, through chemo and through this… Always a bridesmaid never the bride.. I was like this isn’t fking fair at all.. But one of the volunteers said if we looked to the left we could see any lights coming over the lakes edge… As we looked I saw a light….. and then another.. I yelled ” 5 MINUTES”…… PANDA-FKING-MONIUM errupts. Wesley and sprint through the barn to watch across the lake… 2 sets of headlamps bobbing like no other… People yelling 4 minutes left come in… It was like a movie… But better… As I see joses gimpy run around the corner I think someone yells wheres your runner…. haha. I see him slow and I see lisas head bobble. Everyone is yelling, cheering, motivating…. I run back to the band and get ready to see it happen. I think please dont trip and there they are… The finish with 2 minutes to spare….. IT is done…. what a fking show…. i think my cheeks hurt from smiling…
As Lisa comes in we all sing her happy birthday. We sit her down and take her shoes off. YUCK is the world of those toes… Job well done.. After the HR slows we enjoy pie and we pack the car. We soon leave and go back home.
You want to know the truth about something that many people never realize in life.. That what happened out there at Wild Hare thats real life… What we do all the time like jobs, gossip about celebrities, waste our time with meaningless crap is bull shit… It really is…. I spent that monday all day thinking of how cool it was to be there saturday.. I had one of my employees ask me what it was like…
I told him have you ever seen someone get “saved”…. He says yes. I say when you have someone who has 100% conviction in their hearts and faith you CANT stop them. They are a wildfire… He says he agrees. I tell that is what ultras are for me… They are the truth… They make me kind, make me un selfish, make me think of others before myself.. They make me care about my body more, have better goals want to be a better man… Everything about Ultras to me is real…Thats why I want to do more.
I also had the opportunity to hear people tell me that they love our club at the races. That means the world to me. I am not some stuck up ahole who thinks being the president of a club is some high up bs… I dont take myself that seriously. I am in love with our club. It means the world to me as well. I am excited to see that we have an effect at the races and that people see that we care.. Because thats the point of the club. Run, Race and Give Back..
So Wild Hare was a great day for me. I was able to get a win, see 21 of 21 members finish their race….. I was able to bring my son to his first trail race.It was great to run with Laura and Daniel and get that 3rd place in the Tejas Trail Points.
But you know what I got to see a script that Hollywood couldnt write any better. I got to see a hero get the limelight she deserved.
Lisa Danielson is a the definition of a BADASS…. Yes Kilian did matterhorn. Ian Sharman did the grand slam.. But Lisa Danielson kicked cancers ass, she inspires the HATR Nation every time we see her and had surgery a few days before this race.She battles her own body and the chemicals because of the medications daily just to train… But despite that..
She went out to WILD HARE and put on a performance of a lifetime…
And we all got to be a witness.