~ dr. emmett brown
the line between "fine" and "oh, fuck" is indistinguishable.
one moment you're feeling good, cruising along a beautiful trail, the next you're dunked in a cold lake wondering what the hell happened. right, marie norris?
|running happy on orcas island.|
photo courtesy of glenn tachiyama.
a couple weekends ago i ran the orcas island 25k, and on that day everything went right.
the weather was dry and cool, the climbs up powerline and the mount constitution switchbacks were fun, and even though the course was longer than last year (yay, free running!), i still cut three minutes off my previous best time.
the weekend was spent in the company of great friends, much good food was eaten, post-race beer was drunk, and hilariously inappropriate board games were played.
peace of mind from those three days wrapped itself around me like a heavy quilt on a cold day, and for a while the howling of winds that had nothing to do with the island receded to manageable levels.
all of that lasted, oh, halfway through monday morning. because that's what mondays do. still, for a little while...everything was fine.
then the next weekend happened.
and john morelock died.
"ignore the hard, the steep, the heat—it is going to be there, you just have to pass on through. you simply have to cope—continue to cope."~john morelock, author of "run gently out there"
i cried for him.
when the "john, you'll be missed..." tweets and FB messages started popping up on sunday morning, and the inevitable became real, tears deferred for months wouldn't wait any longer.
in a facebook post on nov. 14, 2016, john casually revealed he had peritoneal cancer, for which there is no cure.
over the next several weeks, as if nothing in his life had changed, he resumed his daily posts—most often gorgeous photos of pacific northwest waterways, wildlife, trails, and mountains, accompanied by deft observations on the state of the world.
john's accomplishments as an ultrarunner and gift for language made him a role model for an aspirant like me. his book, "run gently out there," is a guide to living expressed through the metaphor of long(long)-distance running (or maybe i'm projecting). re-reading it, once again i find myself shaking my head in admiration of his lissome prose.
john was a kind, generous soul with a steely core. he was a defender of our wild outdoors, stood with standing rock, and had no tolerance for the politics of ignorance. simultaneously, he warmly bragged on female athletes breaking records and barriers around the world (an act that's become a political statement in itself).
|john running gently on the PCT.|
photo courtesy of glenn tachiyama.
on january 29, john posted on FB for the last time.
noticing his silence, countless friends began posting on his wall their shots of trails and trees and lakes and deserts. he was deluged with the kind of images he loved, from people who cared about him.
on february 4, 2017, he crossed one more finish line...and began his next journey.
those who miss him continue to cope.
"the sounds from the chopping board are muted in my half-lit room; garlic is peeled by hand, potatoes are sliced instead of chopped, the beans are snapped, not cut. i raise my head and see the hillside's solid white coat of frost, soon to be gone. what the moon had reflected on, the sun will now drive away with its first rays of light on another thanksgiving morning."
~ j.m. #rgot
orcas island 25k
1/14 (m 50-59)
shoes: hoka challenger atr 2
song stuck in my head the entire time: "long time gone" ~ the dixie chicks