i was irritated at the phone beeping in my bag. i hit the brakes in the pouring rain on a cold december day, retrieved the phone from my messenger bag and opened it with a terse, hello. "hey, it's lb . i'm at the lottery . guess who's name they just called?". i don't remember much of the phone call after that. i stood in the middle of the bike path in the pouring rain, late for work, smiling.
i remember the first time i ever heard of the western states 100. it was back when runnersworld still wrote about running and in the back of each magazine they did a "how they train" segment on runners of some acclaim. i used to cut out and keep my favorites. the one of matt carpenter sticks out as one that i still have. the other is of a strawberry blonde, moustached guy dressed in head to toe powerbar gear crossing the finish line of trail race from squaw valley to auburn, california. i remember opening the california state map and looking up auburn. tracing my fingers from lake tahoe to auburn. even on the map of a large state like california, the race seemed "big".
i've been lottery lucky, then injured with a major injury that took me out of running for a year. the next year, relocated westward and healthy i was lucky enough to race my way in via the montrail ultra cup. a sudden loss kept me from the starting line that year. then the lottery found me again, where i trained for 6 months only to experience the fires that so many of us had to deal with last year. depression, lack of motivation and finally, injury again. frustrated, i had actually let go of my western states dream this march, only to see my spirit respond. i hesitate to use the word miracle, but the emotional release seemed to put me over the top and i could enjoy this, again. spiritually. physically, my body responded. finally, undertrained but ready, 12 weeks later on june 27th, i was actually in squaw valley ready to run. it seemed like an undergrad education without the sabbatical to europe to "find myself". 4 years, 4 very different paths to my place behind that banner in squaw.