Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Kelly, my sister, the ultra runner

Photo by Stephen Speckman
I'll be driving up to Lake Tahoe on Friday.

We'll be staying in Squaw Valley Village, waking up early to watch nearly 350 runners begin their 100 mile endurance run from the base of Squaw Valley to Auburn, CA. Why will I do that?

My sister is one of those runners. She also has lupus. And a blog. And I'm going up there to help support her along the way. I am so proud of her. Writing this wells up my eyes in tears.

Three years ago, she ran her first 100 mile endurance run there. It was amazing. It is known to be one of the most physically challenging events in the world. Witnessing it first hand was life-changing for me; extremely emotional.

The Western States Endurance Run covers 100 miles of raw, rocky trails, reaching elevations of I think, more than 15,000 feet... running over mountains and down canyons and through pretty extreme temperatures. This was the same trail gold miners would travel during the gold rush days and it was also the trail for the pony express. They say the temperatures could vary from 20 degrees to above 100 degrees, so the runners need to prepare for both extremes.

There is a climb of 2,550 vertical feet in the first 4-1/2 miles of the race alone.

At the 78-mile mark, runners have to use a rope bridge to get across the icy cold American River... which is in the pitch of night for most runners.

We will be driving miles in seemingly no where along rugged roads to catch up to her at Dusty Corners or Robinson Flat. And Michigan Bluff. And Forest Hill School. No cell phone reception there. The car will be bathed in dust driving along unpaved roads. We'll bring a large supply of water.

If you are near a computer this weekend and want to check on her progress. Please go here. She is #344.

Thanks for your support!


kelly said...

I'm so glad that you will be there, Shawn. It means so much to me. Love ya.

Rayne said...

oh, wow. This is incredible. She is a very strong and brave woman to be doing this. And I'm impressed that she doesn't let her disease hold her back.
Keep us posted and I'll be rooting for her from here.

Doodlestreet said...

You are so completely my hero! That is just amazing...I'm so impressed. By the way, the photos look way cool too.--Nothing like cool photos when you do incredible outdoor adventure sports

Okay Shawnie, you do realize since she IS your sis, you have to lean out the window of the car while you drive by her, munchin on chips and twinkies and there must be lots of taunting and teasing! (In all the best ways).

brenda said...

she is an amazing person. I can see why you are a proud sister. I will be watching her progress for sure and rooting for her.

Rayne said...

I keep checking her stats and waiting for it to start. I'm all excited for her!
Love the picture she has up. She looks like a truly beautiful person.

platitudinal said...

(gathering my jaw from the floor) WOW!
Your sister is an amazing person.

ValGalArt said...

What an inspirational post and I'm so glad I read this! Not just because your sis is amazing and an inspiration but also my dearest friend has just figured out that she has a very rare form of lupus and is flying to San Francisco to meet with a woman doc who knows alot about this particular problem. Now I can direct her to your sisters blog and show her that people thrive despite their adversities. Thanks Shawn you always post the right thing at the right time.