Anyone who has run an ultramarathon has been asked the question – “Why”? Sometimes (most times) you may not be able to give an answer that people will understand. I have, like many others, explain that ultras show what a person is made of. That is a very simple and understandable answer. For me, I saw that I was capable of an incredible amount of suffering (28 hours worth). Suffering that long, opened my eyes to a new perspective on what the body can do. In hindsight, I am very happy to have gone through it.
The LT100 was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I was very far from a perfect race – I wouldn’t have wanted my first 100 to go any other way. I have a new appreciation for the love and compassion that goes into this sport. The thankless individuals who volunteer to help everyone at aid stations. Friends and family who drive all the way to Leadville to watch you complete a brutal task (that in many cases, kept you from them). Also, the friends who do this stuff with you. All of the bad influences who talk you into a 20 mile mountain run until two in the morning. People who take three day weekends so you can run across the Grand Canyon, or around the Grand Tetons with them. All the people who after working 8 hours, go on three hour trail runs with you. All of these bad influences have become near and dear to my heart.
Going through the new challenge of a 100 mile footrace showed me a new WHY. Never in my life have I had the feeling that I did walking down 6th street. The pain was a distant memory when I saw the faces of everyone I loved smiling and cheering. It is the purest form of happiness.
Without the help from my amazing crew and pacers, I would have never finished this race. Chris Lassen (My Father), Liz Weiss, Courtney Crespin, and Daniel Wirick helped me in my roughest hours of the race. Also, my amazing friends and RMR teammates who where there cheering us on all day. Seeing so many friends out there brought me so much joy – Silke, Ryan S, Matt W, Ginna, Malory, Cassie, Lara, Liz S, Leila, Neeraj, Sherpa John, Gavin, Jerry, David H, Andy, Rick Arrick, and so many others. The Leadville Trail 100 was without a doubt a PARTY!
So when anyone asks – Why?.. The easy answer is – Family.
Photo Credits: Silke Koester