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December 4, 2007

Because I Asked

"So I should be in Slytherin," Harry said, looking desperately into Dumbledore's face. "The Sorting Hat could see Slytherin's power in me, and it - "

"Put you in Gryffindor," said Dumbledore calmly. "The Sorting Hat placed you in Gryffindor. You know why that was. Think."

"It only put me in Gryffindor," said Harry in a defeated voice, "because I asked ..."

"Exactly," said Dumbledore, beaming once more. "Which makes you very different ... "

- from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by J.K. Rowling

*
A couple of quick notes before today’s (hopefully, also quick) post …

1. The 10 finalists for Best Endurance Blog have been posted, and somewhat miraculously, I’m still in the running - I'm the Dennis Kucinich of this group of very talented candidates. Head over to raceAthlete and cast your vote – it’s just like voting for a congressman or some lame ballot measure, except you don’t get one of those “I Voted!” stickers when you’re done. (I know I’m not exactly selling it, but I’m sure there must be something enjoyable about the electoral process. I think you’ll get to see one of those little bar graphs or something. ) Go ahead and click over there now - this post will still be here when you get back.

(See? Still here.)

2. Momo tagged me with that “5 Random Things” deal that’s going around. I’ll get to that soon, I promise – but I have a couple of other items lined up first, starting with some final thoughts on the whole Western States lottery process.

*
It’s one thing to be sorted into a place you desire; it’s something altogether different to prove you belong there.

Harry was placed into Gryffindor house, known for its qualities of bravery and courage. Through his ensuing adventures and battles, it was clear that he was deserving of his placement. However, at the point of his initial sorting, Harry was uncertain that he would become worthy of his housemates' lofty standards.

At one point, his misgivings were so strong that he sought an unbiased confirmation of the Sorting Hat’s decision – illustrated in the quote that opens this post. Even after Dumbledore reassured him, Harry struggled with the burden of expectations as he moved from one difficult challenge to the next.

So I’ve been chosen to do this race, and everyone is telling me congratulations and saying how excited they are for me – but I haven’t really done anything yet. I'm only here because I asked to be included. I was sorted into the group I requested; my job for the next seven months (and on race day) is to prove that I belong there.

After all is said and done next June, I’m hoping it will be a foregone conclusion: I’ll survive the race in one piece, and know that I deserved to share the same rugged, mountainous stage with some of the best ultrarunners in America. But the path from here to there seems incredibly long right now – and I don’t have a Dumbledore to encourage me along the way.

Remember what I said a few posts back about the magic and mystery of the first-time endeavor? Well, it’s for real now … and I absolutely love it.

8 comments:

21stCenturyMom 12/4/07, 11:03 AM  

I'm not sure that a guy who goes out for a 26 miles jaunt in the desert in the pitch black needs to wonder if he is suited for the WS-100. I think the sorting had knew what it was doing this time, too.

Backofpack 12/4/07, 5:27 PM  

Donald,
I'm not gonna lie...you've got a long and arduous path ahead - both in training and on race day. I have not followed the path myself, but have supported Eric in his training, and both Rob and Eric in their races. I've seen both succeed and both fail. It's not easy and you can give it all you've got and still never make the finish line. I think that is the beauty of the distance - it's never a given, it's always a challenge and so much more goes into it than just your training...terrain, altitude, weather, fuel, training, sleep, health all play a huge role. Some of those things can be fudged a bit in a marathon, less so in a 50 and probably not at all in a 100. So anyway, give your wife and kids a kiss, and begin the journey - remembering to be patient when you are tired and that your family, and especially your wife, are contributing more than you can imagine to the quest.

I've also never done an Ironman distance (or even a tri), but again have friends who have done multiples...the training is intense, but different than the 100 mile training. I don't think I can really put into words what I'm thinking, but it has to do with the solitude of the trail, the long hours of repeated motion, the harshness (and beauty) of the wilderness. Just different.

Okay. So much bs from someone who's only observed from the sidelines, but it's a viewpoint outside the racer's perspective. Maybe somewhere in there, something will strike a chord...

robtherunner 12/4/07, 8:10 PM  

Something tells me that you won't have many problems, or at least ones you can't handle. You're very meticulous about your training. Enjoy the journey!

angie's pink fuzzy 12/5/07, 7:15 AM  

so does that mean Shakira the Mistress is going on the back burner for the next few months? ;)

congratulations again, that is fantastic.

jen 12/5/07, 3:22 PM  

Congratulations on WS Donald. They mentioned the drawing during an expo clinic at the CIM expo and I thought of you and crossed my fingers! :) Very cool.

Anne 12/5/07, 3:26 PM  

Just voted for you, and I think of you more as a Mike Huckabee than Dennis K.

Spokane Al 12/5/07, 10:20 PM  

Dennis Kucinich? No, not so much.

Even with that comparison you got my vote.

Bruce 12/6/07, 1:09 AM  

There's another vote, looks like you could do with a few more. Congrats on getting a start in the Western. Enjoy the long road ahead.

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