"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt
This post is about my friends. Some I have met and others that have become my blog buddies. Some I have run with and other's that I have run with in spirit. I love it when people step into the arena. I love it when they "dare greatly."
This past weekend was the epic 100 mile ultramarathon race known as the Western States. Thus, when I come back from my early morning Saturday run, I was on the live web updates checking the updates of my friends and the elites. Early on I knew it was going to be a rough day when I saw some of the Texas Runners dropping early. Tom Crull, my 66 year old Navy Pilot buddy had shown to have dropped at mile 40 or so. Come to find out, he had taken a bad fall. The weather report showed that the heat was up to a 100 degrees. My friend Dmitry was trying to complete his 3rd 100 miler this year. It was not to be. The heat had taken it's toll and cramping coupled with blood in the urine cause him to call it a day close to the half way point. Ultra phenom Dean Karnazes had shown to have dropped at mile 63...I understand for much the same reason. Even 8 time winner, Scott Jurek dropped at the same point. So when I wake up early Sunday and saw that my friend and fellow North Texas Trail Runner Matt Crownover was within 9 miles of the finish I was happy. So was my blog buddy Donald. I still have not talked to Matt about the race but that will come. Donald details the demons and terrors that encroached upon his endeavors. Read about it here.
On the other coast my blog buddy Missy was to partake in a woman's only triathlon. Let me note that she is both an Ironman with a very respectable time and came in the top 10 in a 5K open water swim race early this year. Say she owned it. Read about that HERE.
Staying with the tri theme, I want to give a shout out to Regina. Regina and Colby go to our church and we have known them for about 4 years. This past year, she decides to get off the couch and make it happen. She starts going to 0500 boot camps, she starts working out and dropping weight. She has now scheduled a tri to run early next year and will start training for it this month.
Let me close with someone near and dear to me...my wife. She will never run an Ultra....at least she tells me that. In fact she may never run further than a 5K. But at least 5 days a week she is in the gym. Either spinning, strength, flexibility or core. She makes it a priority. She imparts it to our kids. With that she is consistent and for that I am proud. Sometimes when 0430 comes too early, and I am contemplating on sleeping in, her encouragement comes with a nudge and a mumbling about "you'll hate yourself if you sleep in..."
I love endurance sports regardless of the event. Saturday I will have the the Tour de France on the tube. My 8 year old actually knows what a pelaton is. I love it when people test their limits. I admire the individual who steps into the arena. Sometimes it is painful and incomplete. Other times it is painful with great bliss and success. Many times only finishing is the herculean task asked of...and other times owning a race and being in the top 4% of ALL finishers is what is awarded. Either way, they will never have to share existence of the "cold and timid souls that know neither victory or defeat." Those cold and timid souls, quite frankly, disgust me.