For almost 140 days I have had the pleasure of being coached by the most amazingly inspirational ultra marathon runner, Coach Ed Ettinghausen. I knew I was going to grow through this process, but I expected physical growth along the lines of greater endurance and increasing my speed. What I didn't expect was how he has helped us all grow mentally. I say helped US ALL, because when I hit the jackpot and tricked him into training me, not only have the Zero to 100 Mile Hero team benefitted from Ed's guidance, but all my running buddies have also been able to grow as well. If you run with Ed you can't help but learn something about yourself. I am still pinching myself that I am so lucky to live so close to Ed and to be trained by such a wise runner.
I've learned that I am stronger than I ever thought I could be. I ran almost 90 miles this week including 36 this weekend alone. I learned that I can run late at night, early in the morning, whatever it takes to get it done--I am capable of doing whatever needs to be tackled in order to get the miles in.
From Coach Ed I have also learned that when life throws an obstacle your way, don't let that obstacle keep you from following your dreams. About a month ago, the race that my team had been training for was cancelled. It would have been easy at that point to throw our hands up and give in. Surely that was a sign that our journey was over, right? But while I was disappointed, I knew deep down that Coach Ed would figure it out for us. He does not take no for an answer, and he found a way to fix even this seemingly unfixable situation. Ed found another ultra marathon runner to take over the EC100 race as our Race Director...and so, the exact race we were running before is going on as scheduled and with a few additional improvements as well. Endurance Challenge 100
The final thing I've learned is that if you dedicate your run for others, it can give you that motivation to push through the rough spots. I continue to be impressed by Ed's running, but his finish at this weekend's 100-mile Run-de-Vous was amazingly inspiring. Ed was running in honor of his good friend Dr. Moses Christian who began running marathons when he turned 62, and has run 181 marathons since then. Dr. C. is not doing well, so Coach Ed decided to dedicate this run to him. Coach finished first place overall after completing 100 miles in 16 hours and 55 minutes. He had a mission and not even triple digit temperatures would stop him.
I have been thinking about this for the last two weeks and I have decided that I am dedicating my 100-mile finish to D. He was proud, and dare I say even impressed, by the miles I was putting in. I know he would have been so excited to see me finish those 100 miles, so this one's for you D!