Friday, June 24, 2011
Here we go! 24 Hours until the start of the 2011 Western States 100
Siting here on the plane heading out to California I am overcome with emotion. It seems like just yesterday I was sitting at work watching the webcast for the lottery to get in to the Western States 100. This is the race that I first read about in Dean Karnazes's book, Ultramarathon Man several years ago. In that book he describes what a superhuman effort it took to complete this grueling run. I had just started to run Ultras and I could not even comprehend running 50 miles, let alone 100.
Almost as soon as I had logged into the webcast I thought that I heard my name called, but the on screen update took a while to catch up. Once I finally saw my name on that list I was psyched. They call Western States, "The Big Dance" and it draws one of the deepest fields of any Ultra in the world.
Getting into WS also opens another opportunity for the truly aspiring runner, the option to compete in the "Grand Slam". The Grand Slam consists of running WS in June, VT100 3 weeks later, the Leadville 100 5 weeks later and finally the Wasatch 100 in September. With an average of only 4 weeks between these classic races, the runner that takes on the challenge has to be extremely dedicated. If at any point you do not finish one of the races your slam is over.
Typically about 30 people take on this challenge and only 25 to 50 percent actually complete it. Finishing the Grand Slam puts you in the certified Bad Ass category among a group of Bad Asses.
About a month after getting in to WS I was talking to Amy about my long delayed book and interest in public speaking. The thought of entering the slam had entered my mind as a way to illustrate the methods and ideas that I want to write and speak about. As we talked I remember actually feeling adrenaline course through my body in fear of the enormity of this type of challenge. I will never forget her looking at me. I could see her contemplating the reality of the amount of support and sacrifice she would need to make in order for me to do this. With very little hesitation she told me not only to do it, but that I HAD to.
At that moment the "Potentially Painful Summer" was sparked. Readers of my blog already know the story of how I waited too long to get into the Wasatch lottery and decided to substitute the "Bear 100" instead. To add more difficulty I have also decided to attempt the 124 mile Run Across New Hampshire 4 weeks after the Bear. After attempting and failing to complete this run twice it will be a sweet ending to this effort.
My hope is that my constant blog updates since I made that decision will give others a glance into the process of setting and going after goals that you are not sure that you can complete. I have told many of my friends that this is what I feel I am supposed to be doing. I have a gut instinct that I am here on this earth to do more than just sell motorcycles.
A simple thought sparked an idea. The idea turned into a belief. The belief turned to a burning desire. The desire inspired passionate work. The work created the ability. Now it is time for the vision to create the reality.
No matter how it turns out, I have been overwhelmed at how much loving support I have received from my family, friends and even strangers. Thank you so much!
Here we go!!!!
Posted by Nathan Sanel at 8:53 AM