Overwhelming gratitude

Everything is full circle. Karma is real. And what you put into your dreams is exactly what you will get out of them.

As in my last post I was heading back to Colorado with motivation on my mind. I hated leaving again but the thoughts of running Ragnar Snowmass with all my Ragnar Warriors was so exciting. The few days I had at home I mapped my entry into Colorado on wed. I looked to see what was the highest 14er near me.

So it just so happened to be Mt Elbert on the list and my plan was to sleep good wed night and head to the Mt Thursday morning and give it ago. Honestly i shouldnt be running or hiking at all with my knee issues but I am hard headed i guess. Everyday is a struggle to walk.run some times its horrid other times its just pain. But this is going on 1.5 years now so why bitch now.

I decided to get a hotel room wed night around 2am. im tired driving another 2 hours wasnt smart and i knew i need to sleep. i pop up at 6:15 and start heading i think around 1.5 hours to mt elbert. i stop in this little coffee shop in leadville to get a cup o joe and i head to the mountain. i used alltrails.com to show me the NE ridge and to guide me.

as i enter the parking lot i look up and realize that this isnt a treadmill climb and we are at 10,000 feet already. i am from houston and altitude is known for kicking our asses. i dont care that i was in colorado for 10 days i knew it was coming for me.

mt elbert trailAs i took a few pictures as  i loaded up with food, water, etc and starting the hike. i got lost no more than .2 onto the course because i was too damn excited to start. i got myself back on track and starting taking pictures of some of the ups. along i went hiking up the terrain it was so peaceful in the trees as i head up to the clearing. once hitting around 1600′ i made it to the small clearing. i was stepping through or on top waist high snow which i thought was the coolest thing ever.

josh on mt elbertOnce out of treeline i met a guy named josh from Tennessee he told me how he dreamed of this and how much he thought of this. it was a pleasure to share the mountain with him and we hiked together. along the way he mentioned he say Tony Krupicka eating breakfast we laughed about how cool it would be to see him run..

And then Tony Krupicka started coming down the mountain. Josh and I probably sounded like 8 year olds at a New Kids on the Block concert. I am sure that I am supposed to be cool, calm and collective but why LIE im not. I love meeting people that are bad ass runners and yes I act like a fan..

anton krupickaTony comes down we are able to get a quick picture with him and he is very kind as im sure everyone on the mountain stops him. We make our way up and up and up. 14,440′ is high and the temp is getting colder. Parts are covered in snow, we are climbing feet and hands at times. I knew we would make it but I was very happy I have done as much climbing as I had. This was amazing.

mt elbert summitOnce we hit the top i stood on what I could have considered the top of the world. A little marmot sat up there and yelled at us and we took pictures. I came down the mountain and met a young woman who worked on a dude ranch in colorado. She was an experienced 14er veteran and I traded her stories of Kilian and materhorn for her stories of tagging 14ers.

aspen black bearI headed to Aspen to meet with friends from Ragnar. We enjoyed conversation, food and slept for the night. Around 4:15am it got cold and one of the guys in the hammock got into the truck. I saw him and then noticed a black bear come through our camp.. what luck i thought as I got pics and video of him moving through the camp.

We all laughed as none of us were hurt and its always funny to talk about what could have been. We traveled together to snowmass about 30 min to meet the rest of the Ragnar Warriors to start our adventure.

I have the unique pleasure of being united with some amazing people from all of the country. We were all selected to be ambassadors for ragnar and we got a chance to all meet in salt lake a few months back. I have never been forged with a group quite like this. Its a wonderful mix of active., like minded people and we all just really get along.

As we formed our teams and met other teams I started to kind of take a step back mentally. I started to realize that i was going to run… This to me honestly was terrifying to think of trying to run downhill as i have avoided this for 6 months and my knee was already the size of a softball from elbert.

I was the last to go and I had a chance to watch people come and go on our team. It was so much fun to just cheer them on and keep up with who was next. Along the way I was able to talk with friends with Salomon and meet Cassie Scallion, Kerry B and also Eric Skaggs all of which I have immense amount of respect for. So more ultra celebs for me.

Then i had to run. As I left the transition area and headed up yellow I just kept thinking just get halfway which would all be downhill. My legs felt like shit. They hurt but I had said i was willing to suffer. I ran/hiked hard up the i think 1200′ incline over the 2.1 distance. Almost hitting the halfway this grouse which we think was protecting the nest chased me down the trail. I knew it was coming but it was fast and really made me laugh as i hit the halfway. I took a deep breath and said well lets let it rip. I knew it would hurt, I knew it would be fun and I wanted to enjoy it. The next 2.1 miles where what life is. I was thankful to be there, to be part of the team and to be running. I kept looking down as i ran about a 7:30 pace down and just let my legs loose.

As I finished my loop I probably sounded like a kid with a new toy. I was just so happy to enjoy it. I was just so happy to run even if for a few minutes. The next day and Saturday I got to spend time with the teams of Warriors. Swapping stories, making plans and enjoying like minded people is so fun for me.

2014-06-06 07.54.41I was the last to run and I had the red loop left. It offered the longest trip 6.1 and the longest down hill. As I power hiked the first 3.1 which was steep all the way to the top of the ridge line. I had this amazing view looking down at the Ragnar Village. Knowing that at the bottom my team was waiting. As i started the downhill I started to really miss being home. As much fun as I was having in Colorado my mind was wondering. The 3 mile downhill was again blissful. I took a little easier and just enjoyed the ride.

We finished as a team and shortly after we all went our separate ways. So camping, some flying and some driving.  As I said by to the Ragnar staff I began to think how THANKFUL I am for this life.

As my wife and I spoke last night before Bed I went over some of the upcoming plans for us. The traveling, the races and the things we are getting done. She said ROb isnt this great. Isnt this what you wanted.

It is. Life is very fulfilling right now. I see opportunities at every corner and I plan on following all the paths. I was able over these last few days to really soak in the enjoyment of the mountains and of the amazing friends I have within the Ragnar world. I am blessed to call those people friends and there companionship is truly unforgettable.

My friend wrote this on my picture on facebook. His words are always very inspirational to me.

 “Talents are brought together through determination and commitment. This was no coincidence, my friend.”

It reminded me of this quote which i keep near me.

Follow your passion, be prepared to work hard and sacrifice, and, above all, don’t let anyone limit your dreams. -Donovan Bailey

Life is exciting. I am truly happy. And I am grateful for those who I get to share my time with.


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