the secret to my success
August 18, 2008
I had an epiphany last weekend at Leadville–I realized that Kim is not only the love of my life, but also the key (ha, you’ll see) to my success in pretty much any endurance event I’m struggling in.
I ran the Logan marathon several years back, my first of two marathons, which I ran, you know, just to see if I could. I ran in snow for the first 13 miles, and freezing rain for the second 13 (not sure what happened for the other .2 miles). Kim was waiting with the kids in the minvan at about mile 17, a miserable moment when I could no longer feel my fingers or toes. When she saw me, she jumped out of the car, ran up to me and along with me for a few seconds, cheering and encouraging, and when she saw me veering off course toward the car, she sprinted ahead of me, got in the car, and locked the doors.
I was too delirious at the time to realize what happened, so I just kept running, and eventually finished.
Two years ago, I was trailing Rick S. by a considerable distance on the third and last major climb of Lotoja. The final summit tops out at about the 100 mile mark (but only HALFWAY through the race), as far as I’d ever ridden on a road bike, and I was a shattered man as I finally hit the top, where I knew Kim and Shelle were waiting to cheer me on.
Again, I veered toward the car, hoping to get in and take a nap, and spend the next 100 miles cheering Rick on from the safety of the back seat.
Again, Kim got there first, locked the door, rolled down the window a few inches, and said, through the small opening at the top of the window “Rick’s right over there, he’s waiting for you, you can do it, I love you.” And she rolled the window up.
And I finished Lotoja.
Finally, last weekend at Leadville. Kim was my crew and my cheering section for what I hoped was both my redemption for my DNF the year before, and the LAST time I would ever have to do the race. At the Pipeline aid station, at mile 75ish, I was just starting to feel the first effects of a bonk that would bring me to my knees 10 miles later, at the top of the Powerline climb. When Kim asked me what I needed, I said “hey, is that a chair? I need to sit down.”
Kim sprinted over to get between me and the chair, holding me back, and said to whomever was around “Don’t let him sit down! He’ll never get back up!” And everybody folded up their folding chairs and eyed me menacingly.
I had no fight in me, so I just ate my soup, climbed back on my bike, and continued. And, as I’ve noted, finished.
And now I know. Thanks babe. You’re the wind beneath my wings. You can have my medal.