Photo from Mount Royal, Frisco, Colorado.

"That is happiness; to be disolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep." - Willa Cather

Thursday 12 December 2013

National Identity, more on Desert Solstice and the simple goal of running well

I am the type of person who spends an inordinate amount of time thinking about things like which national jersey I should wear to the Desert Solstice 24 race on Saturday. In reality, I don't have a Danish national jersey, I am not Danish and most likely will never be unless the important people of the government decide to allow double citizenship (yes, the US, along with almost every European country, allows double citizenship - and it would make our lives a lot easier if SR and I didn't have to hold jobs and addresses in each other's countries to follow the rules of our residency cards!). Of course I could write a lot more about this, but I won't. I don't have a passion for writing about laws even though I have a passion for being both Danish and American. To solve the clothing dilemma, of course I will wear Salomon. They are a company I believe in, make products I love and trust and they have supported me and their athletes in both good and challenging times. Salomon is a company that transcends national boundaries and is simply about the joy of trail running, skiing and hiking out in the amazing nature of our planet. In fact, part of what I love about Denmark is what Salomon has helped do for trail running there!

Two nights ago I dreamt I was running this Saturday's Desert Solstice and was in terrible pain. Today, I feel no pressure and only hope I can run for 24 hours without getting injured. It is an exciting opportunity, this. I'm not really sure how I feel about the fact there is a webcam. I'm not really sure how I feel about the fact that I am interviewing for a residency spot on Friday at University of Minnesota and on Monday and UC-Irvine (okay, I'm nervous)! This is all a lot to take in. By the way, I would not be able to do any of this without our Au Pair, Nanna - not to mention SR, who just tossed a Danish jersey singlet on my lap.

Here is the startlist for Desert Solstice:

2013 Desert Solstice Entrants

NameNotable PROther HighlightNationality
Jennifer Aradi128.1 Miles (24 Hour)2012 Heartland 100 WinnerUSA
Zach Bitter5:12:36 (50 Miles)2012 50 Mile National ChampionUSA
Eric Clifton13:16:02 (100 Miles)Former JFK Course Record HolderUSA
Anthony Culpepper82.39 Miles (12 Hour)2013 Beyond Limits 100 WinnerUSA
Ed Ettinghausen135.7 (24 Hours)52 Lifetime 100 Mile FinishesUSA
Anthony Forsyth16:03:47 (100 Miles)2013 Beyond Limits 50 WinnerUK
Connie Gardner149.368 Miles (24 Hours)Former American 24 Hour Record HolderUSA
Tracy Høeg43 Miles (6 Hours)2013 Salomon Hammer 100 Mile WinnerUSA
Deb Horn134.45 Miles (24 Hours)Multiple Time Team USA 24 HourUSA
Carilyn Johnson130.92 Miles (24 Hours)Multiple Time Team USA 24 HourUSA
Olivier Leblond14:33:25 (100 Miles)2012 Old Dominion 100 WinnerUSA
John Maas15:37:23 (100 Miles)2013 Kettle Moraine 100 WinnerUSA
Beth McCurdy122.55 Miles (24 Hour)2012 North Coast 24 Runner UpUSA
Padraig Mullins8:42 (100 KM)2 Time Lake Waramug 100k WinnerIreland
Kristina PhamUSA
Roy Pirrung154 Miles (24 Hours)World Age Group Record HolderUSA
David Ploskonka134.3 Miles (24 Hours)2010 Beast of Burden 100 Mile WinnerUSA
Pam Smith15:01:40 (100 Mile)4th Fastest North American 100 MilerUSA
Jay Smithberger13:49:13 (100 Mile)3rd Place 2012 Desert Solstice 100USA
John Ticer16:35:45 (100 Mile)2010 24 Hour AG National ChampionUSA
Victor Vella34:29:40 (Spartathlon)National Age Group Record HolderMalta

The race director, Nick Coury, wrote a very informative piece on irunfar as a lead up to this Saturday's race, which includes an interesting history about 100 mile and 24 hour American records. Of course it will be exciting to see what Pam Smith can do (if she can break the track 24 hour American record) and if Zach Bitter can run a 100 mile American record. Pam, her husband and I will be staying together then night before and I hope at least some of her aura (don't be freaked, Pam) will rub off on me. Of course I can not be better than I am; I can only be the best I can be at this time. And that is pretty low-pressure and purposely vague, which is fine with me. No one is watching me and no one knows me. (Let's keep it that way)

Back to Nick Coury. He has been emailing all of us about exactly what he can buy for us to have at the aid station. If we are cold- they have extra jackets, if we need pacing, they are there to calculate, if we want Thai food at 2am, they'll get it- or something like that. And now we are all invited out to dinner the night before.

By the way, I love Duluth in the cold. On the way back from Virginia, driving with SR, Nanna and the kids, we saw amazing northern lights.

The nothern lights we saw looked like this. They were green because the wind from the sun was blowing through the weak spots in the magnetic field at the north pole and reacting with the oxygen in the atmosphere. Had they been reacting with the nitrogen, the northern lights would have been bluer/purpler and higher up in the atmosphere. It's intuitively obvious, really. What I never knew about aurora borealis is the lights and pattern change constantly (mostly it gets brighter and dimmer)! It is incredible. Like a sea of sun spot wind (an analogy we can all relate to).

Yesterday it was -5F/-21 C

And today's photo from -10F/-23C is the new header. Spectacular. Nothing makes Lake Superior look more beautiful than the dry, clear air, bright sun and steam from the warm water.

One more thing.

I read this article last night by Dr. Nicholas Romanov and it made so much sense to me! Why would you have a goal of running a marathon before you have learned to run well? I was exactly one of those people who never learned to run and was convinced to sign up for a marathon before I had even run a 5k. Sure it was fun and I had a runner's high at the end, but then I was injured for months afterwards. And for what? To tell people I had run a marathon? Pointless.

Would you try to play a concerto before you had learned the notes of the piano? Before you have learned to play chords and each scale? I don't know. Maybe. But you are sure making your life difficult. Plus it will sound like crap. And when it is not just your fingers, but your entire body, you are risking injury if not worse. Just something to consider.

Where I am right now-- my goal is simply to be good at running. This is a very satisfying and understandable goal. It has intrinsic value. Like, I want to be a good painter (okay I don't really) rather than paint 100 enormous murals before I have really learned to paint. (Maybe I should learn to write before writing this blog?!)

I leave you with some pictures of First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach, the site of the first landing of Jamestown Colonists in 1607.

Spanish Moss on the trees, plant identification by Pam Smith
I gained an understanding of why it was called the "tidewater area"

On my way to the plane, I showered at the Zen hot yoga studio in Virgina Beach- one of the nicest showers I have ever experienced! Yogis are such awesome people. And they like nice shampoo and soap.

1 comment:

Karen said...

I have a framed photograph of the aurora hanging over my fireplace. If I look at it more than just a few seconds at a time, I swear the colors still grow brighter and dimmer. It is awesome!