Wednesday, September 29, 2010

9/29/10 - The final chapter

48 hours. 48 hours with a 7-hour car ride in the middle. That is the small gap between where I currently sit and the start line…a very subtle line nestled in the Shenandoah Valley under the shadow of Elliot’s Knob. That first major climb up Elliot’s Knob covers 3500’ of elevation in just 4 miles. It is a steep climb with extremely poor footing. It is a climb that will occur as darkness engulfs the mountain…

It seems that I’ve fallen behind on my writing as of late (well, that’s not entirely true). I’ve got bits and pieces of clever material and partial posts that just never made it to completion. I’ll blame it on being busy, but in reality I don’t think I’m ever not busy. The last time I remember not being busy was when I was about twelve years old. So maybe it is as much a product of football season starting, which always entices me to watch at least a few games a weekend (damn you fantasy football!). Or maybe it was my recent obsession with perfecting my resume and CV as I begin to figure out where the next stage of life will be (this week the list includes San Francisco, Washington D.C., and Research Triangle Park, NC). I see the writing on the wall that I’ll have to get a real job soon…

This weekend, there is one focus – Start slow. Drink like a fish. Eat like a horse. Run like a turtle (ala Roy Heger).

Tapering is not something I do well. I get cranky. My legs get achy. I don’t sleep well. I’m impatient. My mind is not as sharp. I get distracted easily. And I take everything out on Katie. She spent hours last night preparing specific foods that I requested during the race and I had the audacity to complain about something. This was after she spent a week trying to figure out exactly what I would be craving and planned a whole menu (vegan soups, burritos, bagel-sandwiches, etc) and outlined which aid stations she would have things ready for me. She is no amateur at crewing. She knows what I need and when I need it. She knows full well I’ll most likely be an ass during the race. She knows afterwards I’ll lie on the couch and whine and complain for a week. But she takes this all in stride. Some people see love in words, or that special look or touch. This is how I see love.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the simple question every ultra-runner has been asked – “Why?” 100-milers are not fun. They are an experience. Somewhere around mile 96 of Mohican this year, as I fought off the knee-demons and foot-monsters and cut-offs, I posed that question to Star – “Why?” I asked Rob Powell this question over beers at Oktoberfest this past Saturday – “Why?” I’ve been asked many times by family, friends, complete strangers – “Why?” The honest answer is I’m not really sure. I’ve been very blessed in my short life. I’m only 26. I have friends that are only 26 and have lost parents and siblings. I have friends that are only 26 and struggle with life-altering illnesses. I’ve seen such heartache in both my immediate and extended family that it keeps me up some nights hurting for people. But somehow, in the midst of all of this, I have escaped such tragedy. Maybe I run to see how I respond to hardship (even when it happens to be self-inflicted). But I’m still not really sure. This is a question I’m going to work on this weekend…

Is the third time really a charm? Will my lucky #13 race number come through? Will I finally have a race that lacks the “epic” nature my first two have had, and I simply run well? All of these questions will be answered in just a few short days.

I am tapered.

I am rested.

I am ready.


  1. Friend: Sometimes the answer to "why" is simply "because." I hope you find the answers you are yearning for, and I hope you also know that "because" is more than enough.

    Be good to Katie and know that your Mohican suffer-buddy is with you (and your crew) through the day, the long night, and the sunrise.

    Channel your beast. Just because.

  2. Great writing, Dave----you hit all the important points, like reminding yourself how much you appreciate your wife, and why you do what you do, and the looking ahead to what's after.... All to God's glory:)

  3. Go get the race Dave and you will find your answer at the finish line.

  4. Congrats David on a tremendous run!!! We were keeping track of you guys online all day. Great job!!!