Saturday, April 4, 2015

Burning River for Ben: Crazy vs Normal

Another Awesome CRUD Run - The top of Iron Mountain on an 18 mile fun run
I love riding my bike and I love running for as long as I can. It makes me feel alive; sitting on my butt all day makes me feel dead. This week, work colleagues from the east coast came to Colorado Springs on a business trip and we had the opportunity to go out have dinner and lunch together and just shoot the crap. For some reason I found it embarrassing when I was asked about running, how many miles I run, how many miles I ride, how many hours I train, etc. These are numbers and I believe for people who don’t do ultra-endurance events these numbers give the wrong impression.  I think from the expressions on their faces they must have been thinking – why? Or that I must really be a glutton for punishment, or crazy. But that is not the point. The numbers don’t describe the awesome trails, running and riding with awesome friends, incredible views, breaking track in fresh snow, feeling the sting in my hands and feet when riding to work on the cold mornings, pushing the envelope and feeling stronger each day, and having time to myself where I can just enjoy the awesome sensation of a body that has everything working in efficient synchronicity. There is no other feeling like it, drugs & alcohol don’t do it, I went down that path many years ago and there is just no comparison. But so many people look at fitness as a chore and running 100 miles or doing multi day adventure races is beyond their comprehension. But it’s not a chore; it’s a passion and an absolute joy.

To continue on this subject, I am periodically asked why I do what I do and often told I’m crazy. It’s amazing what we’ve come to call crazy. Running long distances and physical endurance is something we were actually designed to do. There are many studies that show we are the most endurance gifted animals on the planet. It seems to me crazy is sucking in chemicals such as tobacco into perfectly good lungs, eating foods with all the natural nutrients taken out, gluttonizing on junk food with absolutely no nutritional value, inducing oneself to cardiovascular diseases, cancers, strokes, hypertension, then having to take cocktails of drugs just to carry on this abusive existence; this should be called crazy. But unfortunately that has become the norm, and doing what we are designed to do, physical work, has become crazy.

Steve Bremner Leading the way of 22 mile run on his 60th birthday

This morning’s run with Coloradans Running Ultra Distances (CRUD) was awesome. These runs are just so incredibly fun it’s beyond description. And it’s obvious that the dogs of CRUD are of the same opinion. When we pulled up to the trailhead Max saw Steve Bremner’s dog Chewy and Rich Muzzy’s dog Calvin, and started whining and pacing in the truck to go be with his running buddies. As we were getting ready to run the dogs were running back and forth like caged animals whining to get going! By the way it’s Steve’s 60th birthday and he’s out running just under 22 miles on challenging trails with us a week after he competed in a 40 mile ski race over several passes from Crested Butte to Aspen; The Grand Traverse.  And he is doing a 50 mile running race in two weeks. Absolutely crazy! Normal would have him riding around in a golf cart taking blood thinners and blood pressure medicine worrying about breaking a hip.

Steve and his dog Chewy - Happy 60th!

OK enough of that. Training for Burning River is going awesome. Sometimes I think it is going so well it’s scary. I love the training so much; every run, every gym workout, and every bike ride, it’s just pure joy; which brings me to the core of why I am running Burning River. Sometimes I wish I could take the feeling of a great run or bike ride, bottle it and share it with everyone. Weird I know. Sometimes I even feel guilty or selfish for experiencing so much joy. So the best thing I can do is take my passion and use it to help others that are experiencing incredible suffering and are not capable at the moment to go out and run and play and do what is natural; kids that are suffering from childhood cancers. 

Ben 2012
The visits by the Doggie Brigade were the absolute best!
The volunteers and dogs bring smiles to SO many sick children
The whole Burning River for Ben project is based on a brave young man named Ben and his mother who have been going through this ordeal for over three years. They both have been incredibly brave and positive. Both have been a genuine inspiration. Ben is in remission after three long years of chemo and he is going to run the last mile of the Burning River 100 with me. I will finish it even if I have to crawl. It’s going to be so incredibly emotional. This was the bases of this run. It has evolved into a project to help the kids that are currently going through what Ben has gone through and those that will in the future. Unfortunately many of them will not survive. The Showers Family Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Akron Children's Hospital is an incredible non-profit that does everything they can to make these kids’ lives a little better. Check out this video for a very fun music production as an example what the staff and volunteers do for these kids. I can't watch this video enough, it brings a big smile to my face every time. They also arranged a prom for the kids, just one of the many things kids going through chemo don’t normally get to experience. We are dedicating this run in Ben’s honor for all the kids, staff, and volunteers at the Childhood Cancer center. Donations go directly to this cause and really do help. Please find it in your heart to help with whatever you can. I think about crossing that finish line every day and it just adds to my passion to, as one of the greatest philosophers of all time, Larry the Cable Guy, would say; “Get er done!”

Ben 2015
Its been three years since Ben was diagnosed with
 Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia ( Leukemia A.L.L.) B cell.
 It’s amazing how staff becomes like family there.
 We are so grateful to have her helping him through this time
You can help project “BurningRiver for Ben” by contributing here. Every contribution, big or small, helps!
Thanks so much and thanks for reading.

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