You’ll need to dig deep inside your inexhaustible well of grit, guts and determination. Will it hurt? Yes! But it will only hurt for 30 hours. Then it will go away. It will be easy to quit. But remember, you didn’t get here by yourself. And if you quit – that hurt will last a lifetime. – Ken Chlouder
It took Adam 24 hours and 30 minutes of grit, guts and determination.
This past August, Peter and I set out on another one of our crazy adventures with our dear friends, Adam & Vicky – a week of nature and outdoor activity set in the Colorado Rockies. The centerpiece for the week was the legendary Leadville T100, the “Race Across the Sky” – a 100-mile run across the extreme Rocky Mountain terrain, reaching elevations of 9,200 to 12,600 feet.
Although I had originally thought that a week in Colorado would be a great vacay, I really got swept up in the energy, excitement and spirit of this race. I was eager to attend the pre-race athletes meeting to better understand what they were about to do and I was stoked to be apart of Adam’s crew, an important role that I didn’t understand until we were a few hours into the race.
Our role as crew (Vicky, Peter & moi) was to find our way around the trails and to meet up with Adam at check points – ensuring he had food, drink and a chance to change his clothes/shoes. We were his cheerleading entourage.
Adam had a goal going into the race – he wanted a sub 25-hour finish. His tenacity in everyday life made me believe that he would do it. His smile at 3am, the morning of the race told me it was certain – sub 25.
During the day, Adam’s spirit was amazing to watch and experience. We watched him come through checkpoints after hours of cold temps and crazy elevations with a smile of his face, a kiss for his wife and a bear hug for me. At every chance he thanked us and wanted to ensure we were ok – were we eating and warm enough…
Both Vicky and Peter joined Adam as pacers at different points in the last 50-miles –Vicky paced Adam up and over Hope Pass, the highest of all elevations and Peter ran over 30 miles, keeping Adam company through the darkness of the mountains. Their courage and support overwhelmed me. This was not their race, yet they did everything they could to help Adam reach his goal. The generosity and courage I witnessed left me speechless.
It has taken me a while to write this post – we were in Colorado in August – but even as I write this I realize that these words cannot and do not express what I witnessed and what I experienced. The human spirit is remarkable and watching and sharing in Adam’s race has left a great big imprint on my life. I live surrounded by remarkable people who I am lucky to call my friends… my family.
During the pre-race meeting Ken Chlouder, the founder of the Leadville T100 said, “You didn’t get here by yourself, your family sacrifices, kids look up to you, and you can’t let them down. We are all here to get you across the finish line.” I lived this. I saw strangers coming together, offering to pace people they had never met, offering food, drink and blankets, all to support the dreams of another. These selfless acts are at the core of the endurance community – a community that is truly a family.
I’m a proud member of this family and can’t wait for the next adventure.