16 Days – The Greater The Risk, The Greater The Reward

“What are you doing?”  Eric smirked at Dawn and I when he found us stopped at the switchbacks.

“Waiting for you, as usual.”

The other team members laughed and Eric fired back with some comment about my broken tailbone.  Typical Saturday morning.

He had separated us off into 3 groups for training at the bottom of the Mt. Wilson Trailhead… short, medium and long.  Dawn and I had planned to go long but after making it up to the switchbacks, we both stopped to reassess where we wanted our mornings to take us.  We were both fighting lack of sleep for various reasons and decided to cut it short that morning for the ‘medium’ run, and began our repeats together on the switchbacks.

Dawn didn’t talk much about her personal life, but today I could tell something was bothering her.  She told me that her dog, Stewie, had been attacked by another dog and was currently in surgery.  Hope caught up to us on one of our repeats, we finished up together, and headed to breakfast.  Most of my Saturdays with the team, I was there to push hard and leave everything I had on the trails.  But mornings like this existed to spend time with friends, have breakfast and enjoy the beauty of the mountains that surrounded us.  I was beginning to gain a new outlook towards all of this.

Monya had been MIA from Saturday morning practices for a while, since her husband Dave had come back from his deployment.  I was truly beginning to empathize with what she had been through over the years, and what a strong person she really is.  It wasn’t until recently that I could even begin to comprehend what it was like to have someone who I care about overseas.  On Sunday afternoon, we met up at the new Team CrossFit Academy building, to watch some weightlifting, and then down to a local bar for a drink.

“Well… it’s not like Dave was a beet farmer when I met him.”

“A beet farmer?”

She smiled.  “I use that analogy because I actually did have a friend back in high school that decided to move to Utah and be a beet farmer.”

“Did he ever start his beet farm?”

“Nope… He died.”

I burst out laughing.  “I’m sorry… I don’t mean to laugh at your friend’s expense…”

“Ironic huh?”

In the midst of everything else going on in my life, I hardly even realized that my next 100 miler had snuck up on me.  This one I go into with a little bit of a different perspective.  Over the years, the 100 mile distance has defined me in ways I never realized possible.  I’ve learned more about myself in those journeys than anything I’ve ever done before in my life, even when I have failed.  But at the end of the day, as much as they may mean to me, they are still recreational.  I won’t ‘die’ if I don’t make it across the finish line of my upcoming race.  Does that mean it’s acceptable to give it anything less than my very best?  Absolutely not!  I have no intention of failing.  Maybe this time around I’ve even found a little more motivation than I had before.

I trust my life.  I trust that the challenges before me will bend me but never break me.   I can’t wait to learn some new things about myself, a mix of some things I will like and some things that I will dislike.  There are situations that I will face in the upcoming months, from races, to work, to my personal life, that will be difficult, but I feel fortunate to have them in front of me, because it means I’m strong enough to handle them, and I’ll become a better person because of them.  Two weeks from tomorrow, Monya and I will load up the Racer Wesson Mobile (the Jeep), and head out for an adventure that will jump start it all, and secure what I know will be a life long friendship with a woman that I admire so much.  Bring it on!!

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