There’s a line from a book. Perhaps you know it: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
I’ve spent all summer agonizing over the Gore-Tex TransRockies Run, doubting myself and waking before the sun to do long runs day after day to prepare for the six-day, six-stage trail run across the Colorado mountains. For months I was certain I would die embarking on a journey usually taken on by people described as “Masters of the Extreme.”
I have never thought of myself as a “Master of the Extreme.” Not until this past Sunday that is, when Cynthia Amon of Gore-Tex told me and the rest of the runners that we all were.
All that discipline this summer, which only can be described as the worst of times, was worth it to experience six days of indescribable joy, pain and amazement, aka the best of times.
Many people have described the event as summer camp for adults. I’ve written before that I never had the privilege of attending a summer camp but if it was anything like the past six days I really missed out and I intend to write a letter to my parents asking why they denied me this experience.
The Gore-Tex TransRockies staff and volunteers did everything to ensure all 300 of us were comfortable, well fed and well maintained medically. Short of shipping our beds from home, they did everything so the all we had to focus on was running up and down a mountain every day. They provided us with two square meals a day and during the day’s run an endless supply of the top refueling foods of choice, such as Twizzlers, PB&J sandwiches and Coke. They hauled our ginormous bags from campsite to campsite, which they set up for us each day.
Were there tears? Yes. Was there lots of shouting of the “F” word? Of course. Did I fall? Three times. Was it painful? Very. But was it the best experience I’ve ever had in my life? Yes.
It would take a book to describe all the amazing stories of the beautiful participants, like Theresa Apodaca, who only wanted to do this event with her husband but in the midst of training he was hit by a car and his progress severely derailed. But despite his injuries, he still did it — all six days, all 120 miles and with a smile on his face. The night they were crowned the king and queen of the TransRockies, there were many tears shed.
Then there was reality TV star Ryan Sutter (pictured left with me and his partner John LoFaro. Photo by Kelly Blake), who within moments of meeting and chatting with him you realized why "The Bachelorette," his now-wife Trista Sutter, chose him. Then there was his beautiful partner who made you want to have your own reality TV show, invite him and rig it so he would win.
There were teams of all sorts: mother and daughter, father and son, twin sisters, husband and wife, friend and friend, and Mike Trujillo and I were the only brother and sister team, which made us extra-cool. Plus, it was the “Year of the Beard” for the Gore-Tex TransRockies Run and my brother’s beard was right up there with the best of them.
There are countless reasons to run the TransRockies Run. You can push yourself further and harder than you ever thought possible. You can learn patience. You can meet amazing people. You can test a lot of gear for five to seven hours a day. You’ll amaze yourself. You’ll learn more about your partner, and they’ll learn more about you. At the end of the journey, you’ll be part of a family — a very extreme, very beautiful family.
Plus, it’s quite a festival of sexy and the place where “Masters of the Extreme” honeymoon, as a few couples proved to all of us. And hey if you’re single, it might be a way to meet your future spouse.
On Sunday when I crossed the finish line, my body felt broken but I felt so high, a high that no drug could emulate. I vowed that day, after 7 hours and 10 minutes out there, and nearly four extra miles we didn’t know we had to run (dirty little trick, course guys), that I would never do it again. But I’m ready to sign up for 2013.
See you all next year!