I have struggled to find meaningful content for this blog. I feel that everyone has a story to share, and inspiration has struck me with recent events transpiring in the realm of UTMB. Anyone that knows me can tell you I am passionate about UTMB. The picture above is my bib from 2015. I dropped out of UTMB around mile 60in 2015. When you DNF, they cut the UPC code that tracks your progress. This bib will stay with me until I finish what I started.
In 2015, I toed the starting line in Chamonix only to be picked up about 60 miles later by my amazing crew. The primary factor to my DNF was a blood clot in my leg that only allowed me one month’s training. Against better judgment, I went ahead with traveling there and starting. It was too late to change or cancel arrangements. I had a false sense of confidence in that I could make up for the lack of training with my experience in finishing the Grand Slam in 2013 and Run Rabbit in 2014. My strategy was to enjoy and just finish. UTMB does not disappoint with its difficulty and atmosphere. It is truly like no other. After I regrouped at the apartment, I could watch the finishers come into Chamonix and knew right then, I had to fix this.
I feel that these failures are what define true leaders. We can gauge leadership by how we react to our failures, learn from them, and turn them into future success. The process and experiences gained are what make us stronger and wiser.
In 2016, I was fortunate enough to find momentum to work towards returning to UTMB to finish what I started. The year started with an experience I will forever cherish in finishing the Rocky Raccoon 100 with my close friend, Jason. Next was Big Horn in June, I was super lucky to jump in some training runs with Kaci Lickteig and Miguel as they prepared for Western States. I tagged along with them to the Silver State 50 mile grabbing the final qualifying piece necessary to get back into Chamonix.
Before signing up for these races, I made sure to check to that these races were UTMB qualifiers in the past. I quickly learned this meant that they intended to continue to be qualifiers. However, during this time, UTMB partnered with a newer organization, the ITRA, to manage their qualifying processes. This process now requires the qualifying races to pay a fee in order to be considered a qualifier. I will emphasize that I think this is bullshit. However, I am not letting this stand in my way. I contacted Rocky Raccoon race organization and had great luck. Chris, the RD, with Tejas Trails was generously registered the race within a week of our correspondence. One down! However, the remaining two events required additional effort. I will copy my paragraph I posted in response to the release issued earlier:
“If you search for Big Horn Trail Race on the UTMB site: http://utmbmontblanc.com/en/page/17/Qualifying%20races.html you will see them listed. Why? Because I registered and paid for it. I have all documentation between the race staff and myself spanning from 7+ months of persistence, and they did not once cite this moral conflict. I also registered the Silver State 50 race – paying for the fee out of my own pocket and managing the UTMB registration qualifying process myself. John Trent, the RD, did voice his concerns to me and was passionate about standing up to the ITRA. . John told me at one point he no longer wanted to follow through with the UTMB registration process, but extending his compassion to me as a past participant of his race, and allowed me to continue to register the Silver State 50 as a UTMB qualifying event.”
If you would like to hear more of my story, please visit (insert blog link here). Yes, this is a shameless and handy way for me to promote my startup business. I won’t dilute this any further than I need to. I have a problem with Big Horn being so quick to jump on a band wagon without disclosing why they paid for 2016. AND then to ask me several times for the UTMB qualifier graphic.”
With about 2 weeks to spare from the deadline, I had everything in place! My fate was placed into the hands of the lottery now. UTMB has about a 40% chance of successful entry so I felt optimistic given what I had accomplished to this point. Lottery day comes and I wake up to find that I was denied. I couldn’t help but think now that there are greater forces guiding me away. I was not ready to accept this fate and kept fighting. I chose to apply for a solidarity entry which requires making a €2,000 donation to one of UTMB’s sponsored charities. Also, my company, Ruff Rd. Sportswear will be at the expo at UTMB, so please stop by if you are in the area.
So now here we are 60 days before the race. My training is building despite a few hiccups earlier this spring. Like many runners who are focused on big goals, I have a tendency to over-train. My previous successes at races from the Grand Slam in 2013have been made possible through my hard work, dedication, and commitment to my training. I am excited about the future of Ruff Rd. Sportsware and experiences to come as I work to grow the brand. My key training events involved are listed below. I plan to use this blog as a vehicle to chronicle and demonstrate how Ruff Rd. Sportsware products perform under a variety of circumstances. Please follow along as I begin this journey!
7/14/17 – Oyster Dome Challenge 50K: Alger, WA
7/22/17 – Pyscho Summer 50K: Kansas City, KS
8/5/17 – Ouray 50, Ouray, CO
8/19/17 – Pacing John Lefever, Leadville 100: Leadville,CO