Sunday, June 27, 2010

squaw valley to auburn.

i spent friday afternoon driving to robinson flat up near tahoe to camp for the night. it was the eve before western states 100 mile endurance run (states), one of the most epic 100m runs around. about a month ago, i signed up to volunteer because i figured it was the best way to see the race up close. and it was. (this is heather and i on our way up.)
i got to meet the robinson flat volunteer "family" when we arrived. bill (below) being the head of the station, welcomed us "palo alto girls" with a such sense of welcome that i felt immediately at home with all these strangers. the volunteers were so tremendous! it's clear that they love being there. all that they do is with a sense of purpose and service. although the volunteers ranged widely in age, most of them are older (i.e. >60). and given that i lovelovelove old people, i guess you can say i was in a sort of heaven. ; )
(our sunset view from camp.)
being assigned to directing traffic wasn't the most glamorous of positions, but an eye-opening one. robinson flat is the first aid station that crew are allowed, so it's a particularly exciting place to be. not just because it's incredibly stunning up there, but because people are buzzing with a sort of anxious focused energy. but the eye-opening aspect was getting a glimpse of how crew often work harder than the runners. the crew have to drive from one location to the next, stay alert, and put their life on hold to serve someone else. it's beautiful really... the laying down of one's life to love another.

after a few hours of traffic control, my friend heather and i went up to the actual aid station to see some of the runners (and so i could work at the "sponge-down" station). yes sir, i was sponging runners down and i would've had it no other way. ; ) the best part? the noises they'd make when i'd squeezing ice cold water down their neck and heads :: the sound of pure satisfaction.

we packed up camp and then head down to foresthill where we got to see the top two runners zip by.
anton krupicka (first image below) and kilian jornet (of spain). it was incredible to get a glimpse of their athleticism, lightness of foot, ease of movement (at mile 62!!), and their support! i am still in awe.

our final stop was at the finish line at auburn high school. i had recently been in touch with stan jensen of to get some advice on running my first ultra, so wanted to drop by and introduce myself. he's been super helpful in connecting me to the his running community. while we chatted, he painted a picture of what it's like to finish states....that when the runner enters the stadium, the announcer says, "and now entering the stadium is liz song...." hearing my name gave me the chills. one day i hope to have my crew jump on that bus to come cheer me on and bring me snacks, have that enthusiastic volunteer sponge me down with ice cold water, enter that stadium, and have my name announced as a finisher.

being at states made me wonder, what do i dream of? and what dreams have i somehow convinced myself that they weren't worth pursuing?

how will i keep this dream alive?
how must i keep this dream alive?

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