Western States is right around the corner – which means I’m having trouble putting intact paragraphs together, let alone writing an entirely cohesive post. Accordingly, all I’ve got today are a few loosely organized thoughts related to the upcoming race …
The student sat in a chair in front of the whole group – then one at a time, each person told that kid something he (or she) liked about him (or her). It could be something minor, such as having a nice haircut, but usually the sentiments grew more profound, speaking to the person’s personality and character, and his or her ability to succeed in the larger world after leaving the comforting surroundings of home.
It never failed to be an incredibly uplifting scene – watching some anxious kid preparing for an unimaginable adventure, having his spirits boosted by a group of people who care about him, gaining confidence for the journey ahead. Those nights were my favorite part of the ministry – and they’re a memory that’s been on my mind for the past couple of weeks.
Recently, and with increasing frequency, I’ve been on the receiving end of e-mails and comments with well-wishes for Western States. What’s more, several of them are from random people I’ve never known before, who have approached me on the street, or dropped unexpected e-mails to my inbox. I guess I've never fully appreciated how many people were following this little adventure, either through my Monterey Herald articles, or via this blog.
I’m not sure how everybody’s finding me, but I know one thing: it sure feels nice to know that people are cheering for you. So if you’re one of the folks who has encouraged me with a kind word lately: thanks very much for the affirmation. It will definitely come in handy on June 28th.
I know there are a lot of newcomers who found me from Dunlap’s site, so for their benefit, I thought I should clarify a few pertinent issues:
1) First – you know I’m not nearly as good as Scott, right? I don’t yo-yo with the frontrunners in trail races, and the only time I see the elite runners is when I’m secretly taking their pictures from a distance. I just figured I should lower that bar of expectation right away. Also …
Periodically my company will reassign staff members to different offices based on shifting roles and responsibilities; and occasionally when this happens, the décor of particular locations will be altered to suit the tastes of the new occupants.
My little corner of middle management recently underwent this sort of makeover - and as a result, this is the painting that greets me every day on the way to my office:
Now … it is just me, or does this lion look strikingly familiar? Does it remind anyone else of the logo for a certain footrace that takes place in the Sierra Nevada Mountains on the last weekend in June? A footrace that I’m already driving myself crazy thinking about with each passing moment?
I mean … what are the odds that this kind of thing would happen two weeks before my race? There’s got to be some symbolism involved, wouldn’t you say? When the Western States mountain lion shows up unannounced in your place of business, it sure seems like there’s a larger force at work, or some sort of message to be heard – although exactly what that message says, I’m not certain.
I’m also conscious of the fact that after the race is over, when I eventually return to the office, I’ll have to look this lion in the eye and answer for my performance. Furthermore, I’ll most likely be reminded of my participation in Western States for every single day of my employment from this point forward. As if I needed any more pressure.
I’m not sure what story I’ll have to tell once the race is said and done – I just hope it’s one I can be proud of. While the anticipation is killing me, the good news is that I won’t have to wait much longer to find out.
And if you'd like to stick around these parts, you'll find out very shortly thereafter.