My Girls. Jordan (Jordo) left, Shannon (Beans) middle and Evin (Boo Boo) right. They're awesome and 3 of the 4 reasons why I get up in the morning. Kourey, their mom and my wife being the 4th. I'm a lucky guy. BBB
From: Bill Cotton [mailto:William.Cotton@darrigo.com] Sent: Friday, May 22, 2009 8:27 AMTo: firstname.lastname@example.orgSubject: RE: vote for best trail running town!
Shit! I’m so sorry to hear that. I was hoping for better news as I’m sure you were as well. I want to encourage you to hang in and keep up the fight. I just know you can do it and I will keep up the good thoughts and positive energy. At the risk of sounding redundant, I am an hour and a half south of you and am willing to lend a hand if you need me for anything. Seriously.
Dan, I know we were more acquaintances than close friends prior to your recent challenges but thruthfully you are one of just a few ultra running folks that always took the time to chat with me and catch up every time we crossed paths. You’re way more involved in the ultra community than me and know more people so the time you spent with me always made me feel special. So thanks for that. Sorry for the cheese – just wanted you to know the truth.
I will not be heading up for the training run. Too much family stuff going on right now keeping me close to home. More real life than running right now for me. Planning on a triumphant return soon.
Bill From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Friday, May 22, 2009 7:15 AMTo: Bill CottonSubject: RE: vote for best trail running town!
Hi Bill, good to hear from you.
We’ve had a reversal of fortune. The cancer cells are back and now I am being pulled out of the bone marrow program to undergo a new round of chemo. The fear is that now it’s harder to fight since I can’t use the old regimen. It’s very aggressive and the odds are longer for a cure. This just sucks since we were doing so well and I was counting down the days to go home. More than likely we will stay here at Stanford for the new treatment, but indefinitely, no longer targeting mid to late June for a return home. All options are open and we’ll just hope for the best.
Sorry it’s not good news to share. I do appreciate you asking.
Hope all is well with you. Going to Auburn for the training runs this weekend?
From: Bill Cotton [mailto:William.Cotton@darrigo.com] Sent: Friday, May 22, 2009 6:15 AMTo: email@example.comSubject: RE: vote for best trail running town!
No more posting or training log entries for me for a while. Running is starting to get that familiar "WAY TO STRUCTURED" feel again and I'm going to back off and let the fun factor back in. I'll be back when the inspiration tells me the coast is clear. Seacrest OUT!
Big Sur was windy, cold and a good time. Race report to follow.... BBB
Friendly Spectator: You are number 125 overall. #187 (me): You have got to be shitting me! I have never been this far up. Friendly Spectator: Definitely 125...LOOKIN GOOD LOUIS!! #187 (me): FEELIN GOOD BILLY RAY!!! (I was floating - no bullshit)
Just when I thought I had a clue...got this stuff kinda dialed in...I LEARNED SOMETHING NEW. SOMETHING BIG. Who knew?! Who in the hell knew!?!?
Toeing the AR50 start line, I had a NEW PLAN and was going to stick to it come hell or high water. NEW PLAN was not going to be easy, however, and was going to force me to run in a way that cuts across the grain with the way I naturally approach ultra running or running in general. NEW PLAN had structure. NEW PLAN made sense. NEW PLAN would provide the guns needed to spit in the eye of this 50 miler and finish...smiling...upright...or fake it convincingly. Twice before I've made the finish of this one but never in control and always after plenty of self induced suffering.
Hell did eventually show up, by the way, as well as his bro High Water who usually, in the latter hours, take turns sucker punching me mentally ("why in the f**k do I subject myself to this crap?") and physically ("who needs toenails anyway...just 20 miles to go..."). However, this time I had NEW PLAN in my corner....NEW PLAN was by my side for the long haul. Yeah...NEW PLAN had my back!
Hell and High Water...SAY HELLO TO MY LIL FREN!!! (think Al Pacino - Scarface).
At the Way to Cool 50K a few weeks ago, the plan was to go on the full tilt boogie until I blew. I refer to this method as "The Gump" and it's one of my favorites. The beauty of the Gump is in it's simplicity. Just run your butt off from the start and deal with paying the piper later. No watch, no pace, no brains...just run like you stole something baby! Sometimes you make it, most times you don't, but the unencumbered running somehow fuels it's appeal. I dig not having to pay attention to the details early on so much that I am willing to risk the obligatory physical and mental flogging that come with a planned, intentional Gump. I know there is a better method but I still enjoy Gumping it quite often. Strange choice the Gump.
It's also fun to find out what kind of shape you are in utilizing the Gump. It's simple...and I like simple. I will caution however that, for a runner of my caliber (read; hack), the Gump should be reserved for distances 50k or shorter. I have never attempted to Gump anything longer and have no plans to. I'm foolish - not stupid. Or is it the other way around? Depends on who you ask. =)
The Gump... and it's various styles and flavors has been part of running since it's inception. An Intentional Gump, if successful, can be a thing of beauty while the more pedestrian Unintentional Gump will more commonly gather scorn. More on Gump Theory & Appreciation to follow in another post....
For AR50, NEW PLAN consisted of wearing a heart rate monitor and keeping my HR below 145 all the way to Beals Point (mile 27) in an effort to reach that point of the race feeling good and optimistic about the remainder of the race. (Why I chose 145 bpm I'm not sure other than the knowledge that 155-160 bpm at WTC reduced me to a quivering mass of self doubt by mile 24....a shivering, salt encrusted chihuahua without his blanky...I needed a hug, therapy and maybe a laxative). NEW PLAN also had me eating more than I have in the past to see if that would help me avoid some of the stomach problems that I typically encounter.
So the NEW PLAN boiled down to additional calories and controlled pace and BOTH WORKED! It was high fives and butt slaps for me all the way to Rattlesnake Bar (mile 40) before I felt like I actually had to begin working to finish the damn thing.
(Here's a tip. Last year I passed on the free ice cream cone being handed out at Rattlesnake but this year I had one. I will NEVER pass up ice cream during an ultra again. It was that good and gave me a boost over the next few miles.)
I'll tell you something else, running with a plan and maintaining a positive attitude throughout REALLY helped. Just being able to pull into an aid station and crack a joke with a smile improved my mental state and approach to the entire race. I need to write that down somewhere.....
Over the last 20 miles, I think I passed about 10 runners and got passed by a couple finishing 118 overall and in 8:53:55 - a PR by about 25 minutes. Big SurIntl. Marathon coming up on 4/26 and then Miwok the following weekend, TRT100 in July. Good stuff. BBB
Email from Dan on 3/19. Now in the middle of his bone marrow transplant.
Just checking in to say hello and see how things are going. I hope all is going according to plan for you. Let me know when you get a minute. By the way, I have been receiving calls from all the friends that supported the Run A Mile For Dan saying that you sent personal thank you notes to them. Classy move bro. They all are kinda blown away by it.
Thanks for wearing the shirt! I hope the race went well for you. Wish I could have been there. Down at Stanford now waiting to recover from the bone marrow transplant. What a pain, I have more wires and tubes coming out of me than I can count. Was the least I could do to send out the notes, they deserved it. Can't sit here too long before I get sleepy, so I can only write a little bit. Strange existence now.Take care man, thanks again for everything.Dan