It is December 5, 2014. A little over 24 hours until I toe the line for my 3rd 100 miler at the Cajun Coyote. Although I've run many ultras over the years, I still get butterflies in my stomach in the week prior to the race. The preparation, the over-checking of the weather, the little things that I will need during my race in order to finish. I check. I double check. ...And then I check again. I know I have everything I will need, yet I can't help but think about that one thing that I'm missing, which never comes to mind, because I have already packed more than I need. It's scary and exciting all at the same time.
...And then there's race day. There is nothing better than waking up on a cold morning, under a starry sky, when you can see a cloud of fog with every breath from the winter chill, and knowing that you will be pushing your mind and body to their limits, and beyond. It's not for money or fame, but for a feeling of accomplishment that is known by only a few, and will never be understood by those who have never experienced it. They watch or hear stories, and wonder "Why?" Sometimes I wonder why myself. But on race morning, when I line up with a group of my brothers and sisters, who I may not know personally, but with whom I will share joy, pain, suffering, and victory, I know I am home. This is my place. This is where I belong.
People often ask me why I run ultras, and the only response I can give them is "If you've never run an ultra, you'll never understand. But if you ever do, you will never ask that question again." So if you are running your first ultra this weekend.......rejoice!!!! You may feel it is impossible at times, but when you cross that finish line, you will be part of a brotherhood that few will ever know or experience. It is true. It is pure. ...And it is a moment you will never forget.