Having fun at the Silverton 50K with Felix and Nichole Ortega.


I was having a talk with my long time coach this morning.  We call him “Pap.”  He has worked with me for over 40 years.  He actually was the person responsible for me running.  Back when doing a mile was a big deal in my life!  You see my background is “Strength.”  For me, building strength has become the backbone of everything I’ve done in Ultra sports over the past 35 years.  At this point in my training life, Trail running has become much more than races or times.  It has allowed me to get to a higher place in my life, a spiritual place.  I feel so blessed being on the trails and in nature.  It’s my time to talk with God and get myself right.  It’s such a great feeling that I’m willing to do most anything to make that running experience better.  But I must admit it hasn’t always been that way.  Believe me I’m as competitive as anyone. 

Let’s get back to my conversation with Pap.  It was about why people run.  I know for me, when I started 35 years ago it was to lose weight and look good, plus I got to  spend more time with Pap!  I’m not sure why you run, but my mission is to “Encourage” individuals to run for what they believe is the right reason.  Let me explain.  Having a short term goal of losing weight, running a 10K or even a marathon is great.  But then what?!  The key is developing the Drive that will pull you out of bed each day, that gets you past the “I should do this!”  To “I must do this!!”  It makes everything you do, to improve your running, have a purpose!  It gives you passion!  It makes training fun.  Whether you race or just run, it doesn’t matter.  You see because when we are driven on the inside, it’s elation, it’s love, it’s spiritual.  Now don’t get me wrong, you must work hard, and there is great joy that comes from doing well. But what I know is that when we have drive and we do things for pleasure, the hard work seems more like play.  I also know for me, if I am running for the right reasons, I’m pleasing God. For me running takes me to a higher place!  In the short term for many, running helps to avoid pain, losing weight, looking good or whatever works for you on the short term.  Either way, it will be one or the other, pain or pleasure.  I know that if we continue to run for what we decide is the right reason, that you’ll experience the joy, love and spiritual rewards that I and many do.  Choose well and Run for the rest of your life!