thank you card.

The following post is actually I note I'd typed up for a friend who suffered an IT band injury at mile 24 of his first 50-mile race (a distance I hope to attempt and finish next year), the Mountain Masochist Trail Run (MMTR) held in the wilds of Virginia.  Despite the injury and its providing him with an excuse (a REASON, I'd say) to not go on, he DID, walking the remaining 26+ miles to eventually finish under the cutoff time.

As I was composing this message of well wishes, I realized that what I had to say TO my friend also had quite a lot to say ABOUT my overall thoughts on long-distance trail running and the passion that it inspires in me.  Hopefully, he doesn't mind me sharing this with any and all who wish to read it.

How are you feeling a week removed from race day? I hope at least your mind is in the right place and you can already see the light at the end of recovery's tunnel.

I've gotta tell you, top 10 (and better) finishes are extremely impressive and always will be, but fighting through what you fought through last Saturday is seriously awe-inspiring. I do not know you well, but I'm not b.s.-ing when I say that your effort and your willingness to share the experience in all its details makes me proud to know you; proud OF you.

So much of the spell that ultra-running has cast on me was embodied in your day, most notably the overcoming of obstacles, refusing to say "this is too much" AND accepting and embracing the accomplishment in "just" finishing even when the time on the clock isn't what you'd intended. It's a perspective I struggle to keep in my everyday life but that on the trail seems the only acceptable one to those of us who subject ourselves to rough terrain, long courses and the many, many minutes required to cover that ground.

The personal challenge I've proposed is finding a way to carry it into the workplace, to bring it back home and remember that, cliche or not, winning really is NOT everything. Nearly everyday I fail to meet that challenge BUT I'm going to keep on working, continue striving to get there (and stay there).

Shared stories like yours from the MMTR are powerful and inspiring reminders. I, for one, greatly appreciate your running testimony as the gift that it is and thank you for it.

Be well, my friend.  Heal fast and fully. Those trails aren't going anywhere BUT they are anxiously waiting for your return.