Race Week

Another race week, but this time it's a little different. I'm travelling to Canada, so there are the logistical issues of flights, hotels, car rentals, and trying to get enough quality food and rest before Saturday.

I feel good. Nervous, but not the kind that is keeping me up at night. Confident, but not overly confident. I know it's going to be a difficult day and while I feel strong right now, 17,000 feet of elevation gain over 125 kilometers is going to be brutal, and I know there will be low points, but that is why I have loaded the iPod with some Ke$ha, just to show me how much lower it can really get.

A lot of little pointy things
The problem with race week is that I don't really get much else done. I'm supposed to be working on a new project, designing a new retail site, but the only thing I seem to be doing is overloading Google with race-related search terms. If you see "bear attack prevention canadian death race" trending on Google, you'll know where it came from. This race week is different from most others because I usually have something bigger and better on the horizon to take my mind off of the task at hand. Not this year. The Canadian Death Race has been that bigger and better thing on the horizon for the past seven months, and after this race, I'm not sure what will be next. To be honest though, I have watched this video a few too many times over the last week:

I don't think I'll have too hard of a time convincing my wife to take a trip to the French Alps

I ran Daly Ranch on Saturday morning, a progression run on trails that I'm familiar with, trails that I most recently ran a couple of months ago. I remember them being much more difficult. I felt light with elastic feet on the uphills, not pushing hard, and not as tired as I used to be on the same hills. I had to push on the downhills and flats, trying to keep my heart rate up to where it was supposed to be. This is good. My heart is not my limiter, and I feel strong. I can hear my wife right now as she reads this muttering her Persian superstitious prayers under her breath, biting her hand, and preparing the esfand seeds for the fire, hundreds of evil eyes popping as the smoke forms a thin layer just under the kitchen ceiling. I really don't want to jinx anything, but I think I'm ready for this.

Early morning fog at Daly Ranch
I went to the beach yesterday with my kids, and I watched my daughter, who goes through an overcoming fear of the ocean process every summer. I was probably the cause, pushing her a little too much, too soon, putting her on a foam surfboard when she was three and watching her struggle in the waves. I don't push her anymore. I just watch as she stands at the edge of the water, building sand castles and collecting sand crabs with her younger sister while her younger brother catches wave after wave on a boogie board. As she plays, the water covers her toes, feet and ankles. She kneels, washing the sand off of her hands and brushing the stray, sun-bleached strands of blonde-brown hair out of her face. She slowly wades in to her knees and jumps as the small waves reach her waist. She crosses her arms as the cold water rises and slowly walks towards the waves, finally ducking her head and washing the thoughts of Shark Week, her mom's sting ray warnings, and the big purple jelly fish I pointed out to her out of her head as she swims further out, turns and catches a roaring wave back to the shore, smiling in the green-blue foam of the whitewash. I will draw on her bravery.

I will also draw on the strength of my sister who is taking the first step on her new journey as she leaves Sunday for Stanford to undergo a battery of medical tests that, we hope, will be the first step to a new life, new lungs, and deep breaths. I will think of you and your journey often on Saturday through to early Sunday morning as I stomp through puddles and play in the mud during a long, slow jog in the mountains.

Thanks for reading.

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