Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Adversity Advantage

When I taught in Pheonix in the 1990's one of my colleagues was Erik Weihenmayer. In addition to being a good friend and fellow adventurer Erik was also a true inspiration. As you might imagine, teaching Middle School kids is never easy but teaching them when you are blind is even more difficult. In his four years as a teacher Erik never once had a major discipline issue with a kid.

Of course, as most of you know, Erik left teaching to pursue his dream of climbing the Seven Summits and on May 25, 2001 became the first blind person to stand atop Mt. Everest. Erik has since spread his message of dreaming big and using adversity to your advantage to millions of people around the globe. To me, as an ultrarunner, Erik has emboldened me to take the atttitude that I should never, ever give up. Now I know that running 100 miles is much easier than scaling Everest but the inspiration to use hardship and pain as a springboard to success is universal. So, the next time I'm puking in the ditch at Green Gate 20 miles from the finish of Western States I will figure out a way to harness the energy spent on feeling sorry for myself and use it for fuel to get me to the finish.

This past week Erik visited me at my school. He gave an inspiring address to the community, an amazing talk with the kids, and ran a clinic with Sun Valley Adaptive Sports. In addition, we did an interview with a local TV station. The link to that interview is here:

I hope everybody's training is going well. It's build up time!


Saturday, January 19, 2008

Ramping up...

It's been a while since my last post but that's only because I was swamped with family over the New Year Holiday and work over the past few weeks. The true pleasure in my life this month has been running. I have found a new training group and we are keeping eachother motivated through the cold, Idaho winter. This morning Hank, Brad and I took off together in 4 degree weather and all went well. I managed to throw down 20 miles in 2:42 and those guys went longer. For me, it was my longest run since Javelina but it felt good. As I've stated previously, I am trying to force myself to rest and with a 10 miler tomorrow this will be my first 70 mile week since October. That feels like rest and should help come April and May.

All that said, I am certainly ready to ramp things up in early February with a two-day work trip to SF on the 6th and 7th which will give me a chance to get on the WS course for the first time this year and then a getaway to San Diego over President's Weekend should give me a few more miles in shorts and a t-shirt. I have also thrown an entry in to the Caumsett 50K on March 2nd which turns out to be the USATF 50K Road Championships. Not that it really means anything but since I'll be in NYC for a conference I thought 31 miles on the roads might be just what I need 6 days before I get my butt kicked by Team Oregon at Way Too Cool.

Finally, I must admit I was quite surprised to finish in 8th place in the Ultrarunner of the Year Voting this year. With such an amazing group of runners I never thought I stood a chance of breaking the top-10. Of course, I also feel that way every year at Western States....

Happy New Year everybody!