Friday 100813



3 – 3 – 3


Run 5k

Compare to 7/7/2010


Here's the final post about the 200 Mile Project – from Dustin!



With a stiff drink by my side, two ice-packs on my feet, and Explosions in the Sky playing on Pandora, I sit down to write about the Passion for Life 200.  In a lot of ways I would rather run another 200….well maybe just 100 miles, than talk about myself.  However, the love I hold for my family and friends makes writing about the P4L 200 as a team effort very easy.  So, with that said, pour yourself a strong one and read about what you did to make this endeavor a success.  Seriously, go get a drink.  I'll wait!


“It'll either get better, get worse, or it'll stay the same.”  


This quote comes from Conrad Anker, one of my favorite climbers on an attempt to scale the unclimbed Central Pillar of Mount Meru (6,310 meters).  Conrad made this statement to his climbing partners Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk while hunkering down in their tent during a storm on the Shark's Fin Wall.


Conrad is known for his climbing expeditions becoming “suffer-fests”  in which he and his partners are  regularly pushed outside their comfort zone.  Dehydration, very limited food, physical discomfort, and adverse weather for a long duration always seems to become the case on his climbs.


The reason this quote has stuck with me over the past few years is that: 1. It's a pretty stink'n funny statement under the conditions that Conrad and his partners found themselves in.  And 2.  Even under crappy conditions and discomfort, their goal was still very clear.  This 200 mile run and the way I felt during it was reflective of Conrad's philosophy and attitude towards climbing the Shark's Fin.  When you’re running long distances and you're dealing with discomfort you know that “It'll either get better, get worse, or it'll stay the same.”  But the finish line is the finish line.  That doesn't change.


When I read about Conrad Anker, Steve House, Mark Twight and their tales of endurance, running 200 miles doesn't stand up to shit in the grand scheme of things.


From my little experience with endurance events, I've learned that the real racing doesn't begin until the “suffer-fest” comes into play.


The run may have started over 40 miles to the southeast on the Mountain Vista offramp of I-25, but the real run began just before Tyson arrived in our crew vehicle with Megan behind the wheel and Jill as her co-pilot.  As Megan pulled up next to me, she asked “how's it?”  I think my response was on the lines of “having a tough go right now!”  When considering an endurance event you have to understand that there will be times when you feel like you’re a feather and the slightest of breezes will push you along with little effort.  And you must understand that there will be times that you feel like you're running in place and gaining no ground even when you are on a descent with a strong wind at your back.  Just before Tyson joined me I felt like I had cinder blocks on my feet.  I felt like I had just performed a WOD like Murph and now I was starting off on that final mile.  It feels like you are putting in so much effort, but you evaluate the distance that you've covered and you realize that you might as well be running in water.  The great thing about feeling like crap is that it usually goes away with some conversation with friends.  Tyson was able to knock those cinder blocks off my feet and keep them off the entire time we ran together.  Tyson has never felt like a friend, but more like a brother.


As the afternoon turned to night, the thought of going into the second evening was hard to comprehend.  Putting away miles during the day is one thing, but running at night when sleep sounds fantastic and food sounds like shit, that is a whole different ball game.  As these thoughts filtered through my head, I still felt alive in knowing that Jill would keep me moving for the next few hours.  Jill has always impressed me with her drive and how fast she seems to pick things up.  I knew that Jill would have no problem in keeping me moving down Deadman Rd.  It was during this time period of Tyson finishing up and Jill starting that a Suburban came to a stop next to us at the top of the dirt incline.  You got that right, seeing six friendly faces packed into one ride was what I needed.  Drew, Luke, Joe G., Lil' Joe, Opie, and Mike P. had arrived and were ready to get down to business.  With Jill ready to run and the arrival of six guys I have a great deal of respect for, I knew that one way or the other we'd get through the night. 


That night was reflective of what running at night usually is for me, dark and timeless.  The evening went by without too much of a hitch.  At the bottom of Deadman Rd just before it connects with HWY 103, D Cupp arrived and joined the group.  At some point, Jill pealed off and headed home with Tyson after a much longer than expected run through the woods.  Their dedication and support of getting me across the finish-line would not end there.  The group of us continued through the night while Megan leap frogged ahead to get some much needed rest.  The cinder blocks that I was wearing earlier in the day returned.  What was then a small irritation on my left ankle was now becoming an issue.  Throughout the night I was forced to walk some due to the discomfort. Some time was spent wrapping my ankle, apply Icy/Hot (not sure of what body part Opie was applying that stuff on before passing it my way), and eating.  But most of the time was spent laughing and telling stories.  At the time I was thinking about how long it felt to get to Woods Landing.  Now all I can remember is laughing.


Twenty-seven hours and 100 miles of running brought us to Woods Landing Wyoming.  Upon our arrival, Megan and Opie had set up a place for me to crash in the back of the 4-Runner.  The halfway point was always a planned sleeping spot, but I didn't feel great about stopping.  I had a hard time wrapping my head around having 100 more miles to run once I awoke.  I knew that the second half would be twice as hard.  But as planned, I laid down and was out.  Three hours later Megan and I began to stir.  It was now 6:30 on Friday morning and I needed to go to the bathroom.  The only problem, “Shit, I can't move!”  After prying myself out of my sleeping bag and hobbling to the port-a-potty , I sat to pee.  That's right, the last time I did this was when I had a few to many to drinks.  By the time I walked back to the car, Megan had the camp stove going and was preparing some Emergent-C hot drink and quinoa with brown sugar.  After a quick bite, I was off.


As soon as you leave Woods Landing, you climb for nine miles on HWY 230 towards Walden (~40 miles away).  With a trekking pole in hand and fresh water on my back I set off up the hill.  Two hours into the morning a familiar white suburban pulled up.  Bill, Jacob, and Job all jumped out with smiling faces.  I knew that this portion of the run would be an experience that I will never forget.  As we headed across the Colorado Wyoming border, Bill expressed their gratitude towards me and our efforts to raise money for both GRIT and RamStrong.  I tried to communicate my appreciation for their friendship and for the inspiration that the family had provided me, not only in this run, but in life.  We talked about Nicholas and how he continues to touch our lives in his physical absence.  Nicholas has brought the Hamptons and the Greenwood family closer together.  It was at this time that I realize that running 200 miles was very insignificant in life.  It is the love of family and friends that provides happiness and inspiration.  People ask “where do you get your inspiration?”  I get my inspiration from a six year old boy that is smiling down on us because even in his physical absence he is still bring us together.


This particular climb was over, but now the ankle pain had spread to the right side.  Good news, yes?! Now I didn't just have to deal with just the left side.   As we hit the flatter road on the way to Walden, we were met by some more pacers.  Ross and Kristine had left straight from work and headed to Walden, took a right and drove until they found us running.  Again, new faces always helps in dealing with the discomfort of running this far.  As the Greenwoods, Reinkings and I continued our way to Walden more and more faces kept appearing.  Friends were showing up to help pace, crew, take picture and offer support by cheering each leg completed.   Throughout the day, the run was supported by Stephanie and Ryan Thomas, Tyler G., Tony and Michelle Dragan (with a Minivan full of Thomas and Dragan kids), and  Kevin and Kristi Housley along with Baby Grady.  


As we arrived in Walden, RT and Tyler were still able and willing to run with Megan and Steph crewing.  We took a short break at Walden to eat a quick bite and ice down my ankle and prepare for the night time.  While we placed on our reflective vest, blinking lights, and headlamps I remember thinking “I hope this will be the last night out”.  We were still doing fine according to our
“dynamic” schedule, but this is an adventure and anything can happen.  As we headed out of town, a good friend from high school passed us by with his window down listening to The Grateful Dead or some other hippie music.  My  buddy Scott is definitely a one-of-a-kind with lots of high energy and I knew that he would be key to getting me through the night.


As we pushed on, RT, Tyler, and I began to laugh at how bad we looked.  We were all walking like we had forgotten our shoes and the streets were made of glass. Two miles past Walden, turning west on HWY 14, we were met by Gene, Sharla, and Lil' Gino driving towards Steamboat for the night.  Gene asked “if we were in need of help.”   A few miles later, Gene would take over so RT, Tyler, and Steph could go home and get some much deserved rest.  Once again, friends stated that they would run a certain distance and in the end they ran a great deal more than anticipated.  Ryan is a great pacer, adventure partner, and coach.  I believe that we have done enough training, hiking, traveling, mountaineer, and running together they he knows exactly how I'm feeling at any particular time and he knows exactly how to push me.  People ask what motivates me and I have been know to say “I keep going because I know RT will give me crap the rest of my career if I got myself into this and I'm not able to complete it.”  In a way this is suppose to be a joke.  But really, Ryan has taught that you can finish anything that you've started.


Gene is a motivator.  He often doesn't have to say much to keep you movin' and it is impossible to say “I can't in front of him.”  With him at my side, Scott and Megan in the support vehicle, and McKeon on the way, I knew that I would get through the night.  After a period of time on your feet and sleep deprivation setting in, it is extremely hard to keep track of time and when events occurred.  Over the next 20+ hours I must have looked at my watch over 1,000 times.  However, if you asked me to give you a ball park time on when I took a break, when I laid down, when I ate, or when other friends arrived I couldn't even begin.  All I was able to keep track of, was it dark or was the sun out. 


At some point during the dark period, Jon arrived with his motivated attitude.  Gene and Jon together!  These are my two coaches at Crossfit Evolve that have pushed me through some very physical workouts.  But now, I was dealing with the mental side of this sucker.  I have always said that I get more nervous for a tough WOD than I do to run a long distance.  I can't say that this was the case for running 200 miles.  At this point, I was just wishing that my feet and ankles would go numb.  I remember becoming somewhat frustrated at the fact that I came here to run 200 miles, even it was a very slow run.  Now I found myself having to walk a fair amount to the time.  I remember thinking, yes I'm tired, yes my stomach is giving me small issues, but I'm mentally there.  I was able to carry on a conversation and I was heads up enough to get out of the street so I don't eat a semi's grill.  But dang, I could hardly run because I had elephant feet.  I knew that the rest of this thing was going to take some time.


Gene, Jon, Scott, and Megan were able to get me through the night with encouragement and more hippie music playing from Scott's window.  At one point, Scott asked “do you guys want me to hang around so you can listen to the music.”  I told Scott to not worry about it, but what I was really thinking was 'if I have to hear some overweight guy sing while he's smoking and standing on a fluffy carpet barefoot, I'm liable to lay down and not move.'  At some point in the night, Megan convinced me that it would be good for me to sleep for a couple of hours.  At first I was hesitant to stop for any time, but I knew that Megan was there during Leadville and witnessed what crap looks like.  After I slept at Woods Landing, the next morning I felt rejuvenated once I got moving.  However, after waking from two hours this go-round, I felt beat up.  When Jon or Gene or Scott asked if I wanted to sleep just a little longer, I knew that I couldn't.  At least I knew that it wouldn't change how I was going to feel this far into the run. 


It seemed like most of the time, Gene and Jon were alternating sections of the course and occasionally the three of us would run together.  I recall both my coaches/pacers talking about the sun coming up and my spirits rising with the sun.  In my little experience, daylight seems to recharge your battery.  I knew this would be the case, but how long would I feel good?  The sun brought familiar and fresh faces ready to help.  Megan was just as exhausted as I was, if not more.  As a runner, all I have to do is put one foot in front of the other.  Megan being my crew, crew boss, pacer contact, pacer transportation, coach, partner, the target of frustration, etc. had a great deal more responsibility.  And with the responsibility comes stress.  In those first 50+ hours, Megan was working on less sleep than me and was always the real strength behind this team.  With Tyson's arrival, Megan was able to peel off the course for awhile and get some needed rest. 


As the day continued on, the terrain was getting tougher.  On paper, Rabbit Ears Pass doesn't look like much.  In reality, on tired feet, Rabbit Ears kicked me in the balls.  During the night, some of the relay participants had begun to catch up with us.  This was definitely a good thing.  During our ascent up Rabbit Ears, we received a great deal of encouragement from other racers.  I'm not exactly sure how all the vans and runners knew that we were part of the solo team.  It might have been the fact that I looked like I had just walked out of a cage fight.  At some point, we finally reached the top of Rabbit Ears Pass (the second pass in 50-55 hours).  Earlier in the morning when the sun was coming up, I had told myself to just get to the top of Rabbit Ears and then you can take a long break.  At the top, I stuck with the plan.  I ate a little, laid my head down and fell asleep.  Not sure if the hour nap helped, but it felt great to get off my feet.  Before I gotten in the back of the car, I remember a group of people at the top cheering on their fellow relay runners.  When I awoke, we were alone.  All the other teams that were part of the WWR had now come and gone.  I knew I would no longer have runners from other teams to keep me motivated.  At first I felt a bit deflated.  Jon said “forget about it and lets finish this thing.”  I realized that I had all the support that I could ever ask for.  Here I have four friends that I love like brothers ready and will to crew, run, and push this thing through. 


The rest of the run into Steamboat Springs was filled with pain and utter joy.  I may have been running or should I say walking with swollen stumps, but the rest of the time out there I had all the support I needed.  Friends kept showing up the rest of the time and never left. 


As we arrived in Steamboat, a friend and co-worker Robert Garner happened to drive by with his wife and daughter.  Robert jumped out, put on a vest, and started walking with the group of us.  Robert had finished the WWR earlier in the day as part of the team.  Robert said something to the effect “I know the way to the finish.  I'll help take you in.”  We finally arrived at the last leg.  Only five miles to go.  As we made our way to the middle school I looked on each side.  We were all together.  Gene, Sharla, Jon, Tyson, Jill pushing Jake, Gino, and Paige, Scott, Scott, Krissy, Robert, Kelley, Windy, and my wife.  As we crossed the finish line I saw what matters most in my life.  Julie (mother-in-law), Reid and Ella were waiting with their arms wide open.  This is what it's all about! 


Paul (WWR Race Director) had been nice enough to wait for us to cross the finish line.  He had been working tirelessly for the past several day working on the race and he hung around for one last straggler.  Will Laughlin was also at the finish.  Will and his wife came up from Boulder to watch me become the second person to make the journey solo.  You got it.  Will was the first.  He placed the finishers medal around my neck and shook my hand.  This is a man I have come to admire and hold a great deal of respect for.  I couldn't express just how much that he'd inspired me to try to pull this thing off on my own.  But all Will could say was “Thank you!  Today you inspired me.” 


Megan, you are the rock of our family.  You wrote that I inspire you.  Well 69 hours of running doesn't compete with a lifetime of caring and dedication.  You make me want to be a better person. 


To the pacers, crew, and supporters:  As I write this I have tears in my eyes.  I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed and it seems I always have a difficult time expressing exactly how I feel.  This entire run was a team effort and I know in my heart that I would not have achieved this goal without the help from you.  I hold my friends extremely close.  In my eyes, you are not friends but family.  What you have done for the Greenwoods, what you do for our community, and what you do for my family can never be truly rewarded. 


I love you so much!  We made it!  We made it as a family!

9 thoughts on “Friday 100813”

  1. I have very few words and a lot of emotions about this Dustin. Thank you. You are great man, a great husband and father, & I’m proud to say that I know you. thank you

  2. Holy WOW!!!!!! That was an awesome post. I am glad that I stayed up after work to read it! Thanks so much Dustin!
    Gonna go dry my teary eyes and get some rest for the WOD tomorrow of running a 5k… nothing compared to what D did! 🙂 I’m gonna push through it with the same mind set though!

  3. Wow what a way to sum up the weeks post. I believe that in all of the posts the few things that all are true is love, dedication, motivation and support. You all rock and did an amazing job. The family at evolve gets closer all the time. I guess me complaining about the wod today, 5K is nothing!!! see you all at 5.

  4. Really great to hear the race details from the one who was there all 200 miles! Dustin, what a mental and physical road to the finish, but with determination and a great attitude you did it! For all of us that would never even dream of running 200 miles, you are truly an inspiration. To see you set a goal and no matter what came you’d finish it, what a great thing to be a part of! Congratulations on your strong finish and for taking us all along on the journey to Steamboat! You and Megan are such wonderful people with huge hearts and a true dedication to each other and each others goals in life.
    What a great finish to the weeks posts. A lot of tears this week, but I love the feeling I get every time I think about how I, and what I could see everyone else was feeling, as I/we watched you cross that finish line… pure adoration- you DID it!
    Great Job Dustin!!!!!

  5. WOW! All week these posts have been making me tear up. Not only did Dustin accomplish something great, but each of you that participated in helping him did as well. You are all amazing people!

  6. Awesome!! What a great week of posts and perspectives. Way to go Dustin and what incredible support. Congratulations to Megan as well. I told Trish that I can smash my face with 95 lbs and not cry and read your post and hide from co-workers so that they do not see my tears. What an inspiration all of you are. Great work!!

  7. Dustin, I enjoyed reading your perspective on the entire race. I am impressed that you remember so much of it considering that there were so many crew changes, and your mental state was probably a little less than par throughout the race. You say you struggle with expressing your thoughts in words, but I think you expressed yourself quite well when you talked about being so beat up that you had to pee sitting down, food sounded like shit, you looked like you were walking barefoot on broken glass, and Rabbit Ears Pass kicked you in the balls. I’d say we all have a better idea of what you were going through after those poignant words. Thanks for sharing, and I hope your elephant cankles are feeling better!

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