I lay there on the pull-out couch too tired to move, too wired and twingy to sleep. I had finished Western States 100 only 6 hours earlier, accomplishing a career long goal to get to the finish line. It had taken me 3 entries and 2 starts (the first year I gained entry the race was cancelled). I had earned the finish line.
But as I lay there, ecstatic, exhausted and ravenous, what made me the most satisfied about the race was not my time or my place, it was that I got to do this with an amazing team of people supporting me, both in person handing me water bottles and popping blisters, but with people all across the world who were with me in spirit and #ultrawithdevon.
As I lay there, I scrolled through the #ultrawithdevon tag board and it really touched me. When you are out there in the wilderness, often by yourself for extremely long periods of time, working so hard, it is really easy to feel alone. But WS was different. I wasn’t just thinking about my Oiselle peeps who were experiencing this first hand as crew, or my friends and family that had come in from far and wide to take care of me, I was thinking about all of the people who were with me that I didn’t even know. There were moments when I said to myself during the race, “Devon, if they believe in you, maybe you should believe in yourself too”.
I used the thought of everyone running with me and my team to buoy my spirits and drive me forward. When I couldn’t do it for myself, I was able to do it for all of you. And that is something truly special. In hindsight, I realize that that is what ultimately matters. Finding people who will motivate you, keep you honest, hold you up and give you a helping hand when you need it. We may pursue an individual sport, but we cannot do it alone. Not by a long shot.
Now, 6 months later, finally healing from an injury that I sustained at Western States, I look back on that experience with immense pride and joy and gratitude. I am truly grateful for all those who ran “with” me for you helped carry me to the finish line. Remember, running may be a solo sport, but getting to the finish line takes a team. Reach out, connect, support one another, together we can reach great heights.