June topic? Tell about someone awesome you've met through trail running.
And we all know how much I LOVE writing about THIS one! There are many, many people who are very, very awesome and special that life allowed me to meet because I joined trails, and, especially, trail ultrarunning. The people who find their passion in this what used to be an odd niche are incredible, and when you meet them, open your heart to them, share your pains (and not just physical) - the bond lasts forever.I can list all the "famous" folks who had become wonderful friends over the last 12 years, I can list my crazy and committed running partners, but the most awesome person I had met was the one who chose to spend his life with me, through thick and thin, sickness and health, rich or poor...yes, Mr. Larry King. And we met not simply "through" trail running - we met, quite literally, on trails. Lets the story begin...
There is this little race, Zane Grey 50, that I consider my favorite of all 50's I've done. I had run it in 2006 and had an amazing time, proving myself I am good at exactly this kind of things, crazy tough, with terrain and elements that put many folks down. I decided to come back in 2007. There was an injury involved, and some struggles, but as I said - this was MY kind of race, so I persevered - and made a small connection that I had no idea would go anywhere. There was this guy, who read my blog, and introduced himself before the race - we shook hands, and then...he passed me at mile 3, I passed him at mile 25, and that was it, the history, a normal thing, a thing that happens to each of us every time we go on a trail.
We were both married at the time, and from time to time would check into each others blog. Something he wrote once touched me, it felt that he was seeking support in a darkness of time - I felt it, I was in my own dark days...and I reached out, told him to hold on. Turns out, there was a reason we felt connection, all of a sudden - those dark times were of the same proportion for both of us: we happened to be ending our perspective 18 years old marriages. That was weird, but that was all there was.
Another few months pass by, and I come to check out this new great race in NM, Jemez 50. The terrain and difficulty seems to be right up my alley, I arrive - and who comes to shake my hand again at a pre-race meeting but Larry. And so I joked: "Don't let the history repeat itself!".
The race began as always, with me holding my reins, and slowly making my way through the field. Somewhere at mile 30 I come up on, yes, Larry! He is having struggles with his energy and with his hip, and I smile, and all I can say is: "You better hang on to mys skirt, don't let me drop you again!".
done already. But life's story was only beginning to get written...
He emailed me with "thanks for saving my behind", I responded with "Anytime you want to see Oregon, come over and I'll play your tour guide". 2 weeks later he, a guy who thinks months before making any kind of decisions, was on a flight to Portland - and what a weekend it was!.
|Handy's peak, 2008|
And so it was no surprise that I was driving my car across the country in the heat of the summer of 2009 from Portland, OR to Austin, TX, and no surprise that the venue for our commitment to each other was, you guessed it, local trails.