Monday, May 12, 2008

Every second counts...

I was reminded of the fact that "every second counts" in the last few days as our small community here in the Northern Rockies lost a beloved community member to a tragic automobile accident on Friday night. Gary Hunt, co-owner of the local independent book store and all-around good guy, lost his life tragically on Friday night. He leaves behind his wife Sarah, his two-year old daughter Penelope and three stepchildren.

As you might expect this is the kind of event that hits a small mountain community like ours quite hard. Furthermore, as a school person, the impact on the children and on all the families in our school community can be particularly traumatic. As a result, much of my attention over the past few days has been drawn toward supporting and nurturing members of the school community in this trying time.

Of course, I also need to look after myself and at a time like this running the trails provides that opportunity. In between phone calls, meetings and conference calls a nice run on the trails gives me a chance to reflect, collect my thoughts, and prepare for the next thing on my list. And, it gives me another reminder that "every second counts".

I remember saying those words to my pacer Craig Thornley during the last four miles of the Angeles Crest 100 in 2005. We had just finished hammering 5 miles downhill in the hope that we could catch Guillermo Medina who was running six minutes ahead of us. Upon reaching the Millard Aid Station we were told he had extended his lead to 9 minutes. It was tough news to hear but the truth nonetheless. So, on the climb up from the campground we re-grouped, Craig said nothing and I said, "Crap man! Every second counts! Let's move!" We hammered those last four miles in 28 minutes.

I ended up in 2nd place 9 minutes behind Guillermo with an Angeles Crest PR of 19:45. I have not been back to the race since then but the memory of making every second counts still persists. Tonight, as I think about the loss of a friend and the gift of this life, that mantra is particularly poignant.