This Saturday will mark the beginning of the Western States 100 lottery signup period. I will be putting my name into this lottery with hopes of being granted admission to compete in the world’s oldest and most prestigious 100 mile trail race. The race travels from Squaw Valley, California down to Auburn, California covering treacherous terrain ascending 18,090 feet and descending 22,970 feet. The race began in 1955 as an endurance horse race but transformed into an ultramarathon in 1974 when Gordy Ainsleigh decided to compete on foot when his horse pulled up lame the year before. He completed the journey in just under 24 hours and a legendary race was born.
Most people’s response to this decision to enter the lottery is a combination of “What is wrong with you?”, “Why would you do that to yoursef?”, and “You’re going to hurt yourself.” Somehow, I hear these responses but don’t really hear them. They float in one ear and out the other without a second thought. To be honest, I don’t really have more than two reasons why I want to run this race. It pretty much comes down to a mindset similar to that of Alaskan sled dogs where “It has to be the one thing in life that brings the greatest amount of pleasure.” – Eric Morris. I also am ever curious to see how far I can go and what I can discover about myself. Outside of that, I just simply enjoy it, the scenery, the people, the environment, the atmosphere, and spending time in my beloved state.
I think it is very important to have a passion that elevates you and gets you going like nothing else. It is far too easy to settle into a ritual of work, eat, tv, sleep, repeat. A routine like that leaves a lot to be desired and lacks meaning. Seek out that which strikes a burning passion in your soul making you excited to wake each and every day. “Be not the slave of your own past – plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep, and swim far, so you shall come back with new self-respect, with new power, and with an advanced experience that shall explain and overlook the old.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson