Monday, November 4, 2013

The Reason I Love Running

Thankfully recovery has been splendid since running the 101 miles at Javelina Jundred a little over a week ago. Let me tell you something. I LOVE the grueling challenge and reward that comes from these ultramarathons. I LOVE running on trails surrounded by stunning scenery. But as much as I love those things, I also LOVE the people I've come to know out on the trails.

Hours and hours (or days and days) out on a trail with someone builds bonds more deeply than I've seen anywhere else. The Javelina Jundred felt like a big reunion and made this race so special to me. I'd like to share with you some of the wonderful people I spent time with over the weekend. Each of them played a part in helping me get to that finish line.

I spent more than 24 hours - more than 80 miles out on the trail with my amazing friend Catherine. I can't imagine how different my race would have been without her. This is Catherine with her awesome husband Kacey and mom Mary Ann.

We went to Target in Arizona one night. I was over looking at shirts when my son ran up and said "Dad! Some people recognized me and mom from your blog and want to meet you!" So great to meet Martin and Karen from St. Louis!

Very crazy but we were at Target getting groceries again the next day - and these two great women came up and said they read the blog and were in town for the race. Meet Jan and Linda from Seattle:

At packet pickup I met up with Maria Walton. Caballo Blanco was the center of the story in the book Born To Run. It was a shock when Caballo died while running on a trail last year. Maria was Caballo's girlfriend. It meant a lot to meet someone with such a personal connection to Caballo whose story first sparked my interest in ultras.

I got together with Tony Nguyen - also known as Endorphin Dude. Legend. His quote: "When life dealt me lemons, I mixed them up with Cytomax, took a shot of Gu and ran!"

On race morning I caught up with Emily from RunEMZ. She runs 24 hours on a treadmill for fun.

I can't count how many races or training runs I've done with Kelly Agnew from Slipping Slowly Into Pain. And his wife Jo is a PRO on crewing for a race. She could write a book on how to crew a race. Kelly got 8th place at the race!

And then the race started. Out on the course I talked with Jay Danek who worked the Jackass Junction aid station all sweltering day. Jay is author of the excellent book Got To Live. (You can read a review I wrote for the book HERE.) Jay and the rest of the race volunteers were beyond incredible.

After the first loop we arrived back at Jeadquarters and I had a chance to talk for a bit with Jimmy Dean Freeman. This guy is an ultrarunning motivational speaking wizard. He has got some awesome podcasts on Trail Runner Nation. I was happy to have some of his running mojo rub off on me.

In the middle of the sweltering desert I met Kit Brazier. We've been Facebook friends so it was nice to meet in person and have someone familiar to cheer for on the loops. She was having a rough day on the trail but every single time I saw her she was smiling and so positive. What a great example to everyone. Our world needs more people like Kit.

Me and Catherine were fortunate to have my friend Kristin pace us for 15 miles. Not only did Kristin help get us through the middle of the night but she stayed around for many, many hours afterward to see the race finish. How awesome.

And finally, my favorite people of all - my awesome family. My wife Mel and son Jackson volunteered all day and were there to support my race. I'm so thankful for them.

The people - the fellow runners and volunteers - are what really makes this sport so amazing. More than a feeling of competition, these races have a feeling of compassion and community. We are all there to help each other get to the finish line. This is why I love running.


  1. I remember when I wrote my RR for crewing for Zion and mentioned meeting you, I said, "EVERYONE knows Cory" - I was one of the thankful ones in that list! Your infectious positive attitude and generous soul is why you meet so many cool people. Keep being awesome, Cory!!

  2. That is really awesome! I enjoy meeting people this way too. There are often people that read my blog that recognize me. Most of the time it is all the readers that never comment that say hi.

  3. You are a total celebrity! Isn't it crazy when you meet people who read your blog! I've only had it happen randomly a couple of times, but seriously pretty cool!

    Running is an amazing community of people! People of all shapes, sizes and ability levels, but they are all wonderful and amazing people.

  4. Remember at the St. George expo I told my friend you were famous? See, I was right! I think you might be approaching....legendary.

  5. I love meeting up with people too at races and events. It's crazy to have friends that you've never even met before. One day, I'd like to meet you at some race somewhere! :)

  6. Cory - you and your fam simply rock! So glad we caught up with you in person in the 'health food' section of Target :) Jan

  7. What a bunch of amazing people! And don't forget to include yourself.

  8. Cory,

    I wanted to congraulate you on your latest 100 mile finish and explain what I was trying to convey out on the trail last weekend. Sorry for the last reply but thins have been completely hectic since then.

    I spotted you about halfway around the second loop (the groovy wig threw me the first loop!) and said we'd catch up later. Then I saw you at the end of your 6th loop hopping across the finish line. I was sooo out of it I mistakenly thought you were done, so I came up and start talking to you while you were catching your breath at the finish line. Then I noticed you had some business with your wife and son and left you to what I thought was recovery. I would never have bothered you at this point if I knew you still had that evil 9.6 mile loop waiting ahead!

    Anywho, I just wanted you to know that the reason me and my buddy, Keith Endo, ended up at Javelina this year attempting our first 100 ever was because of you. Last January we ran our first 50 miler, Running From An Angel around Lake Mead, and started thinking about 100 milers soon after. Your account of the 2011 Javelina Jundred as well as your training schedule made it seem perhaps do-able for the first time.

    Come July when we started getting serious and thinking of signing up, I revisited your blog and training schedule and found new inspiration and encouragement.

    Checking your site in the weeks immediately proceeding Javelina I was irked when you said that no matter how much you train, you can't prepare for how hard a 100 miler actually is. I felt like I prepared for this more than anything in my life, so I couldn't imagine anything worse than what I had already been through getting ready.

    Of course, that was before last weekend! What a FREAKIN' BRUTAL run! I don't know how Javelina 2013 stacks up your other 100s, but that heat was hellacious and a force to be reckoned with. I managed to get 'er done, but it weren't pretty and the heat sapped all my strength for some time, even long after the sun set. I did perk up halfway through the 6th loop and managed to finish strong, praise the Lord, but it ended up being the most grueling physical feat I've ever accomplished.

    If you look at photo 50 in this album you will see a picture of you as you crossed the finish line for the 6th time:

    I happened to catch you hopping the line a couple times earlier in the day and was always amazed that you:

    a) still had the energy to LEAP across the line and

    b) were STILL SMILING despite the intense suffering you must have been experiencing. The fact that your family was right there by the finish line and that your wife ran you in the last 9.6 miles is simply testament that you're doing something very right in this game we call life. =)

    In sum, while Keith and I are still of an opinion you're an upright, chipper, righteous, God-fearing fellow who performs extraordinary feats on a regular basis, we now suspect there is a dark, masochistic evil monkey side to your persona that works itself out during these insane runs. =)

    I'm proud of having finished Javelina in the heat, but despite all my training honestly it kicked my rear up one side and down the other. I hope to see you out there again next year, but boy it is going to take some serious rest and forgetting before I get the urge to sign up again. ;-)

    Thanks for inspiring all of us and keep up the great job!

    Take care and God bless,

    Joe Seeley
    Ventura, CA

  9. Every time I read your blog I get excited all over again about trail running! You seem to be able to extract moments of pure joy out f even the worst run. :)

  10. Cory, I am truly honored to be included in your blog. It was such a wonderful weekend, running free , with many beautiful people. Congratulations on your amazing journey. Peace always, La Mariposa

  11. I can't wait to do my first 100 miler, it will be this one too!! I am always amazed how you do it all and put it together so nicely in a story. It is so sweet you were able to get pictures and remember them!! Keep on inspiring my friend!!

  12. Good stuff, Cory. Keep up the great work. I look forward to many more adventures together for many years to come.

  13. Thanks so much for the shout out, Cory...that was so sweet!! :~)
    You always make me smile when we see you at races. CONGRATS on ROCK!! Looking forward to seeing you soon.

  14. The fact that runners are so encouraging is one of the best things about running!

  15. AMAZING. I've run out of adjectives but your smile is contagious and your a testament to what running should be like with friends and family. That's why everyone loves you :)