Last fall (2010), while slaving away at my desk at work, an e-mail got my attention. It was from my wife, Heather. The note contained a link to a crazy mountain race in Colorado. She ended it with the words, “You should do this!”
I receive notes from Heather all the time. No matter what I’m doing, when I see a note from her, I read it immediately. They always get my attention. But when she sends a note that says, “You should do this!” I stand attention like a dog awaiting a treat because she knows me all too well when it comes to races such as this. (Remind me someday to tell you about the last race she mentioned: Comrades Marathon, another race I can’t stop thinking about!)
Tongue wagging side to side, I clicked the link in the e-mail. Up popped the website for the TransRockies Run. So awesome an event it seemed, I scoured the site for information and pictures. An hour later I was hooked. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. A month later, I was still hook. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Several months later… the same. I knew it was for real. This was something I had to do. One look at the pictures and you would, too.
The Gore-Tex TransRockies Run is a six day stage race covering 120 miles in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. The race goes through towns such as Buena Vista, Leadville, and Beaver Creek. The entire event is held at over 8,000 feet with a high point of nearly 14,000 feet. The air is thin, oxygen sparse. Because of potential dangers, teams of two are required. Unique about this setup is that the race is not a relay; each member of the team of two must run the entire way, and they must do it together. Time penalties are handed out when one teammate comes into a checkpoint more than two minutes ahead of the other.
Above – TransRockies rocks the Rockies over six days and 120 miles.
Above – Typical Stage elevation profile.
Several months later, I got in touch with Aaron, Race Director of TransRockies Run, and asked if he could post a note for me on the Teammate Finder webpage. I figured that if I could find a compatible teammate, I would sign up for the race – and in that case, TransRockies would be my 2011 summer race, the one I would focus all year on.
On into January and then February (2011), there was no activity from my teammate request. By this time, I was well into Boston Marathon training with the usual suspects. On one of my long runs, I mentioned the race to my buddy Jay. I told him how excited I was by the race and how I knew it was one of those “life events” that you never, ever forget. Jay shared in my excitement. Later that day I was talking to Heather when it hit me. I had my teammate. He was perfect. And I didn’t need to go searching in lands far away. My teammate lived nearby. And we’d even be able to train together. It was Jay.
What’s funny about having Jay as a teammate is that for months in a row, I never even gave a thought to asking him, or even if he could be my teammate. It just didn’t register. I sometimes do things that, well, nobody else would want to do. So I do them by myself or find someone in a far away land who shares my passion. But finding someone close to home is always a non-starter. Plus, Jay wasn’t a mountain runner; Jay didn’t even run trails. But what makes him perfect is that he’s willing to try, we get along awesomely, conversation never dies if even we digress to talk about Green Gummy Worms, and we’re the same pacing. Of course it helps that he brews his own beer. But hey, this is about running, not beer. By the way, if you ever meet Jay, you have got to try his Pliny the Newton (a ‘the Elder’ clone). Or ask him about his “GV”. Good stuff.
In any event, the perfect teammate was right under my nose the whole time.
TransRockies, summer camp for adults!