Sunday, December 15, 2013

Riffing off Zach Miller

After this year's JFK 50 miler, I read an interview with "previously unknown" winner Zach Miller.  One of his comments really struck me: The interviewer asked him why he ran, and his answer was exactly what I feel but am not eloquent enough to put into words.  Here's an excerpt:

"It's also a bit of a spiritual thing to me. And by that I mean it's like an extension of my Christian faith. It's kind of like singing worship songs in church. I'm not a great musician or anything like that but when I sink into a groove on a rolling country road or a flowing single track trail in the mountains, that's like the sweetest song of praise I can sing! In addition to that running also gives me time to think, pray, and interact with other people. All of those things are very important." (

It's always fun to realize that you're not alone in thinking or feeling a certain way.  I reflected on Zach's quote this weekend as I ran a couple races at Reveille Peak Ranch.  That's probably my favorite place to run in Texas -- or at least it's tied with the Guadalupe Mountains.  Even though I inevitably trip and fall on the granite crags, slip in the creek crossings, and end up feeling beat up the day after, I love running there.  The beauty of the massive rock formations and the wide vistas make me feel like I'm flying, like I'm totally alive, and prompt me to praise God.
My photos don't do it justice.  And it looks much prettier when the sun is shining. :)
(By the way, can you spot the course markings in this photo?  It's a miracle I didn't take any wrong turns!)
A typical trail at Reveille Peak Ranch. Much more fun than jeep roads or pavement!

These rocks are similar to the ones I tripped over earlier in the race, in the darkness. :)
This weekend's race "by the numbers":
8 = the number of runners in Friday's 3-hour race.
3 = the number of runners at the starting line for Friday's race.  (The others were allowed to start early. . . . very casual race direction. :)
16 = number of gels I consumed during Saturday's 60K race.
1 = the number of rosaries I started the race with; also the number of rosaries I lost during the race.
4 = the number of great friends I had the privilege of spending time with over the weekend -- camping, running, chatting, and sitting by a fire.  It doesn't get much better.

. . . And one random story:
About a mile or two into Saturday's race, I heard a man well in front of me yelling "Water!"  I was surprised that there would be an aid station offering water so close to the start line.  Not 5 seconds later, I found myself splashing through a creek. :)  Needless to say, there was no aid station -- just a water hazard.  So much for dry feet and no blisters! :)