Sunday, October 19, 2014


This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

-- Jelaluddin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks

It is has been 4 weeks since Matt and I crossed the finish line at the Kodiak 100.  It took me 35 hours to complete the course.  Of the 72 runners who toed the line on Friday at noon, only 28 of us made it back to the finish line before the course closed at midnight on Saturday. 

I have experienced a roller coaster of emotions since August.  I was anxious and excited leading up to the race.  During the race I felt a loss of will and ego.  The week after the race I was fatigued and exhausted.  Then I had a feeling of deep satisfaction that was quickly followed by frustration and a lack of direction.

I have spent a lot of time in the last month reflecting, processing, absorbing and analyzing details from the race.  It is amazing how many things happened during the race that I had no control of and could not change.  And, how much easier it is said than done to control the things I could change.  I had to accept both of these realizations and find the strength to continually put one foot in front of the other.

There were multiple times during the race that I did not have the mental capacity to accept what was happening, let alone find the strength to move on.  Fortunately, my parents were at every camp with food, water, equipment, patience and encouragement.  At mile 68 I sat down on the side of the road and called Margaret, letting her know that I was finished and was going to drop at the next aid station.  She told me to quit crying and start walking, which I did.  Once again, at the mile 72 camp, I was finished and going to drop.  I took my shoes and socks off, laid down in the dirt and threw a temper tantrum that only an irrational 2 year old could compete with.  Fortunately, Todd Carpenter was able to give me an encouraging kick in the ass while feeding me caffeinated perpetuum and chicken broth.  Matt ran over half the race as my pacer, which meant he too was suffering but could not mention it, and was a pivotal force in me finishing.  

If it takes a village to raise a child, then it truly takes a family for one rookie runner to complete a 100-mile ultra marathon.  I have a huge amount of appreciation and gratitude for my parents, Gary and Joan, my wife, Margaret, and daughter, Juniper, brother, Matt and, the savior, Todd Carpenter.  Without the help and support of this crew, I would not have toed the line or finished the race, THANK YOU!

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