Standing on the Shoulders of Giants
In the few years that I have known Larry Stephens, he has been an incredible friend, mentor, and training partner. I had the privilege of helping crew and pace him at Badwater last year and have had the opportunity to train alongside him (usually chasing him down). I have learned so much from him as a runner and as a person, and I'm proud to say he's become a very close friend.
In 2013, Larry put together his own 100-mile slam, the Larry Slam, which began with Western States and included three additional 100-mile races that took place on the same weekends as those in the Grand Slam. Ever since Larry completed this challenge, I've aspired to do the same, though I knew I had a long way to go and a lot to learn before making such an attempt.
In December of last year, my dreams of getting into Western States came to fruition and, suddenly, I had the option to put together a slam. I considered the Grand Slam and would have been honored to run it, but it was cost-prohibitive, and I honestly have no desire to run LT100. I'm a big believer in only toeing the start line of a race if you're completely excited, determined, and passionate about running it; the greater the passion for something, the greater your willingness to to train, to sacrifice, and to suffer for it. Running LT100 does not excite me. With that in mind, I knew I would not be running the Grand Slam and that this was my opportunity to finally run the Larry Slam.
My only hesitation with attempting the Larry Slam was that it included Pine to Palm 100. My memories of that race are still so fresh in my mind and my heart that I wasn't sure at first if I would be able to run it again anytime soon. I mulled over these thoughts during many long runs with Larry this winter and, somewhere along the line, I realized that I have those feelings because I am passionate about that race, because, for whatever reason, I have some connection to it. I registered for Pine to Palm and then I sent Larry a text: "Committed. I'm running the Larry Slam!"
With my slam bookended, I am now watching the wait lists for TRT and CCC. I am currently in position #12 on the TRT100 wait list, and, after this morning's lottery, position #13 on the CCC100 wait list. While anything can happen where wait lists are concerned, my position on the TRT wait list has been moving rapidly enough that I feel confident planning my summer around this schedule. So, what will 2015 hold? I can think of no greater honor than to follow in the footsteps of my friend, mentor, and training partner and continue the Larry Slam.
- Western States 100 - June 27-28
- Tahoe Rim Trail 100 - July 18-19
- Cascade Crest 100 - August 29-30
- Pine to Palm 100 - September 12-13