My pace continued to quicken, and I could feel my heart slamming through my chest. Guillaume was shouting now, “SUB 6 PACE ELAN, YOU”RE INSANE!”. I didn’t feel insane, in fact I didn’t feel much of anything other than a primal instinct to run, to chase, to move in one fluid motion down the mountain. I had gone to a different place, I wasn’t really hearing Guillaume anymore, just my body moving as quickly and as efficiently as I could. We were absolutely flying down the mountain and my face was taught with strain and concentration, any moment I could lose my focus and knew I wouldn’t be able to slip back into this other world. As all this was going on I started to see a red figure out ahead.
When we arrived at Mayqueen I bargained for one more chair session by the fire and after fifteen minutes of unfreezing my legs I looked up to see Travis smiling right at me. All I could do was smile back and start laughing. For all the pain and suffering, I couldn't imagine being anywhere else. I was out in the mountains on an incredible adventure, so what if it hurts? I wouldn't remember the pain in a few weeks, the positive memories of my Colorado adventure would outlast them much longer. I pulled myself out of the aid station and we started our final 13-mile journey back to Leadville.
Why do we suffer? It is a question we all ask ourselves at some point in our respective endeavors. Whether through elective activities like ultrarunning or a job we despair, we each face our own sufferfest. As a runner, I am acutely aware of this term and the numerous peaks and valleys running has led me through over the last five years.
As my training was coming along, and with a few other life factors coming together I found myself with an open week on the calendar, and after talking it out with both Mario and a close friend, Billy Yang, who is also running Leadville, decided to jump into Silver Rush 50. With Leadville being such a high-elevation course (all above 10,000 ft.), running a 50-mile race 6-weeks out in the same area felt like a perfect litmus test. I had two goals for Silver Rush: train through the race (no taper), and finish feeling strong.
Ever run on the sun? I haven't, but I came as close as I would like to at this years San Diego 100 (SD100). The 15th editon of SD100 was one of the hottest years in race history, and it made for quite the experience.