This past year (2012) was a "banner year" on so many levels...both in my racing and personal life. Just a few weeks ago in early December 2012 we had a Western States Lottery party that got a lot of like-minded runners together sitting on the edges of our seats waiting to be plucked from the big "bucket". I thought that a fun/playful twist could be that if anyone in attendance got picked (via the random process that we had projected on a big screen) we would gather around them, as they sat in a chair, and then all together lift them toward the ceiling--much like a Jewish wedding. While researching the origin and symbolism of this tradition I was struck by how this also transfers to the sport of ultra running (and/or running a 100-miler). Basically, the tradition states that a marriage (much like an ultra!) needs the support and strength of family and friends, and thus lifting the person in the air is a metaphor for that "support system". Good stuff, eh!??
(Lifting Larry Stephens after he is selected in the lottery for Western States!)
So instead of doing an end-of-the-year-review where I recap all my races, etc., I would like to take this opportunity to thank my support system:
First & Foremost My Family:
My wife (Erica) has been extremely loving, supportive, understanding, and sacrificial in many ways toward my racing, training, and other personal endeavors, and I honestly could not have done half of it without her. Thank you so much, babe, I love you! My two year old daughter (Farah) is the coolest kid I know and has logged many miles with me in the BOB baby jogger...I can only count on one hand the times I had to cut my run short because of her crying, etc. Even when she's not with me I think of her often and she gives me that extra boost. My sister (Nadia) has helped numerous times with babysitting (sometimes on short notice) and I am so grateful that she is here in Portland and part of our lives. Thanks Nadia! My mother and brother (and other family members on the east coast)...Even though they are not close in proximity they support me and my passions morally, and my mom was part of my crew at Western States 100, which was a pretty special day for me! Also, my mother-in-law Mo often travels here to help with Farah to offset some of my absence which is greatly appreciated. Thank you family!
(Rockin' our Portlandia mustaches!)
I feel very fortunate to have a good network of friends to hang out with, share struggles with, call upon when needed, and to adventurously tackle many miles worth of trails and mountains together! There is a really great community here in Portland and I am so genuinely appreciative for each and every one of you. You know who you are and I hope to strengthen those ties in the coming year and beyond.
(Re-fueling after one of our Thursday Night Social Runs!)
Flora/Udo's Oil: I have been "Oiling the Machine" for a few years now and I am truly honored and grateful to be representing a company that offers such quality products. A few of my favorite products are: Udo's Oil 3-6-9 blend (DHA), Floradix Iron + Herbs, and Calcium/Magnesium. From their website: "The mission of Flora is to participate in the continuing evolution of the people on Earth toward universal harmony, peace and perfection by providing products and services for the purification and upliftment of the body and spirit, and by providing to each person who derives a livelihood with Flora, an opportunity for personal growth and advancement of these goals in life." --->Amen to that! For more information visit their website at: www.FloraHealth.com Thank you all at Flora! Inov-8: Even though I wasn't on Team Inov-8 in 2012 I am proud to be joining back in for 2013. I have run in the shoes since 2008 and I honestly think they are the best shoe for me with their simplistic and "innovative" approach. The traction and sure-footedness that I get from these shoes are bar none over the rest and, in my opinion, are perfect for the winters here in the pacific northwest. www.Inov-8.com Thank you!...& Go Team Inov-8! Rudy Project: Big thanks to Rudy Project for everything this past year. The well-known company make top notch sunglasses (prescription) and other gear for endurance athletes. I met many many great athletes and people, and I was flattered to be on the first ever Rudy Project Ultra Running Team. Looking forward to some more sunshine so I can rock my Rudy's! http://www.rudyprojectusa.com/ Drymax Socks: Running over 3,000 miles in a year demands good foot care...Drymax socks provide that for me and I am so thankful to be part of the large group of athletes that represent this company. Again, with the soggy winters here in the pacific northwest Drymax keep my feet blister-free and they are very comfortable too. Thanks so much, Drymax! www.drymaxsports.com Float Shoppe: Sensory Deprivation Therapy...ever hear of it? Google it! It's been so helpful for me this past year and I attribute a lot of my health, well-being, and running performance to it. I'm looking forward to getting back in the tank soon and continuing to incorporate it into my weekly routine. Thank so much to all the good people down at the Float Shoppe! www.FloatShoppe.com Dave's Killer Bread: Although I just joined the Dave's Killer Bread team of athletes recently our family has been enjoying these local, high quality bread products for years. Dave has an amazing story and if you haven't tried their Sin Dawgs you're missing out! Thanks DKB! www.DavesKillerBread.com Cheribundi: I used to live in Ithaca, NY when this company first started (as CherryPharm) but I am happy to reunite with them here on the west coast. Juicing has been a regular part of my health but Cheribundi offers some great products in the form of tart cherries. 50 cherries pressed into a small 8 oz. bottle and they have amazing benefits such as fighting off viruses, and pain/inflammation. A common phrase heard around our home is, "Dadda, Cherry Juice, pleeeeez!" Thanks for the juice, Cheribundi! http://www.cheribundi.com/ Haeleum: I spend a lot of time in the outdoors/back country...which usually means lots of bugs/mosquitoes especially in the summer months. Haeleum makes clothing that has an "Insect Shield" to keep the bugs away!..Good idea, eh!? To learn more about this really cool company visit their site: http://www.haeleum.com/ Thanks, Haeleum! Animal Athletics: Even though I am a co-owner in this company I want to thank my business partner Willie McBride, and all the people/friends that have been a part of our inaugural year. Seeing your motivation and having your support has been a driving force of inspiration and strength for me this past year. Again, you know who you are and let's keep it going in 2013 and beyond! www.AnimalAthleticsPDX.com
Wishing everyone a Happy & Healthy New Year!