Sunday, August 12, 2012


Bradbury Breaker 2010:
68th place out of 131 runners
Two years ago I ran my first trail race, the Bradbury Breaker. Half-way through it I wanted to quit.

From the race website:

"Two laps of an exceptionally hilly, technical single-track trail loop that takes you up and down Bradbury Mountain more times than you can count. If you’re not begging for mercy during the first lap you will be on the second"

After the first lap  I convinced myself that I couldn't complete the second and planned to quietly drop out and sneak off at the midway point. When I saw the crowd of supporters, volunteers, and event organizers cheering for me and the other competitors I just couldn't do it. As tough as the next  4.5 miles of mountain running proved to be walking up to the race director and flat out quiting would have been harder.

Last Sunday I ran the Bradbury Breaker for the second time. I wanted to compete. I wanted to finish in the top quarter of the field and test my legs on a hilly course as my first 100 mile ultra-marathon fast approaches.

Bradbury Breaker 2012:
33rd place out of 144 runners
The progress that I've made as a runner is important to me yet it symbolizes another type of progress that I value even more.

The unfamiliar faces at the finish line of the 2010 Breaker are now some of my closest friends. The race director who I was too embarrassed to walk up to and hand in the towel is now helping me prepare for the Virgil Crest Ultra. He is sharing his experience (he completed VC last year), his support as a mentor, friend, and teammate, and his time on race day: he will be pacing me for roughly 42 miles on September 22nd.

Finally, quitting is no longer an option that I entertain-even through the toughest moments of sport or life. I don't know where or when it happened but I left the notion of just giving up somewhere along the trails. And with respect to all that we gain through our passions, pursuits, and personal challenges- sometimes it's a simple loss that marks the surest sign of progress.