They’re done. Over. Finished.
The second leg of the Triple Crown of Running and my (likely only) practice summit of the Peak are in the 2013 history books.
Both were surprisingly nice. While I put forth a very respectable effort, I didn't exactly “smack down” either the Peak or High Drive, but I had more fun doing both than I thought possible.
They reminded me of another thing I love about running. No fewer than three times on Pikes Peak and no fewer than a dozen at yesterday’s Roundup, I saw and cheered people I knew on the trails. I hollered for my team members, friends, and spectators/volunteers. At one point, a guy who passed me on High Drive remarked that I seem to know everybody. This could be a sign that I spend a little too much time talking on runs (near the end of the race, my rockstar teammate JT gently reminded me that it was probably a better idea for me to focus on running than on gabbing. He was right.), but I took it as a compliment.
Having running in common with someone allows you to develop a real relationship, irrespective of ideological, political or religious divides. We’re all out there battling the same hills, the same inner voices. Those voices of defeat and those challenges are our real enemies, not some arbitrary binary distinctions, and it makes it easy for us to root for each other. On the trail and in life.
One of my higher aspirations is to find a way to hold conversations that focus on common ground, rather than differences. It’s what I do every day in my work, and I do it because I love it. For runners, that common ground is literally beneath our feet.
What’s more, if we get to know people on the trails, we’re exposed to more sources of inspiration. Working with this team has just expanded my desire to charge forward. Vanessa, for example, ran yesterday after an incredibly active weekend; Ryan on two hours of sleep. Both Mel and Megan are so cheerful on the uphill it’s impossible not to derive energy from them when they pass. JT finished his run and marched up the hill to cheer on his friends, and David (who I also saw on the Peak last week) emailed me from the award ceremony to congratulate me on (barely) eking out a podium finish. This is my team. How lucky did I get?
Next Sunday, I’ll run a half marathon in Quito, Ecuador, and I won’t know a single soul there. This will be a challenging departure for me. Something tells me I’ll make do, though. And I’ll make do the same way I've done here in the Pikes Peak region: by making friends and cheering them on.