204 Days – Change Brings Opportunity

Friday morning December 30th – as most of my friends slept in, carefully packed Camelbaks standing by, nutrition perfectly programmed for the day (some of which ironically enough was programmed by me), I’m nursing a mild hangover.

Tonight won’t be unlike the dozen or so others I’ve spent running through the wilderness in the middle of the night, pacing in various races.  I’m not worried or concerned about my capabilities.  After a turn of events, Alexa and I will no longer be racing together at our year end ‘Bastard 50k’ so I hooked up with a non racing team last minute, of my own choice.  Monya had so kindly asked me aboard Team Monya/Tom but I respectfully declined to focus my efforts on an upcoming 50 miler.  This time, the race won’t be about me, it will be about something I love as much as I do racing on my own – getting 3 non ultrarunners but very strong athletes across my beloved mountains, safely, in good spirits and feeling like they really accomplished something great.  With their receptiveness towards my knowledge, the homework they have already done and their physical capabilities, although there will be challenges, I don’t expect it to be that hard.

I rose from bed way too early.  My new plush zombie (a Christmas present from Monya), still clutched in my left hand.  As I brushed my teeth, I hardly recognized the girl in the mirror staring back at me, and not because my multicolored locks were now mostly a dark, cherry black.  I was going through my ‘dark phase,’ I would tell people that asked about the sudden change.  The truth was, there had been a lot of change in my life as of late.  The most exciting of these was the reason behind the celebratory few extra drinks I’d had the night before.  At the monthly/year end Arrogant Bastards meeting, Eric officially announced me as a coach of the team, a dream I’ve had for a very long time.

I don’t believe in New Years resolutions, but I do have some pretty hefty goals for 2012.  Going into each of my 100 mile races in the past, there have been high stakes riding on their finishes.  I wondered what ‘stakes’ I would find to push me to the finish line of my upcoming 100 in February, and now I’ve found about 85 of them within our team.  I’ve DNFed before and just as certainly I will continue to sign up for ultras, I will DNF again, but my ability to represent myself as a successful ultrarunner is directly linked to my opportunities to coach others as well.  And that to me, is the highest stake yet.  I intend on being the best I can be, both for myself, and for them.  My heart belongs to that group of amazing athletes, and I will look for ways every day to grow the team and to give back to it what it has given to me.  So, if you want to say I have a resolution, let that be it.

2011, you were so good to me, and I’m sad to see you leave.  You set the wheels in motion for something pretty spectacular.  2012 – hold on tight.  I have a feeling we have an epic ride ahead!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Shannon Franklin December 30, 2011 at 7:35 pm

They are lucky to have you, Summer. Congratulations!


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