Thursday, November 4, 2010
Mountain Masochist 50--a run for Mike
with Mike at mile 75, MMT100, 2005
** Please see the comments section for an update on this post**
Saturday will be my fourth Mountain Masochist 50 Mile Trail Race (MMTR), and without a doubt, it will be the most emotional. I am dedicating my race to my good friend and fellow Wahoo, Mike Broderick, who is fighting stage 4 lung cancer. Mike is a fellow VHTRC member and a popular marathon coach with the Montgomery County Experienced Marathon Training Program. Hundreds of his friends have contributed over $34,000 in Mikes' name to Team LeBrecque, a New York Marathon team raising funds and awareness for lung cancer.
The fact that Mike is so critically ill at all is unfathomable to me. Just four months ago, he finished Western States 100 in 26:53 in very hot conditions, looking and feeling great. Three months later, he was diagnosed with cancer. I am still in shock. I walk around all day going about my work, my training, and spending time with my family, but there is a cloud over my head that I can't shake. This is a guy who swears by a healthy lifestyle, helps others train for marathons and reach their goals so selflessly, and now he is fighting for his life. It just sucks.
Mike was the reason I finished my first 100, the Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 (MMT) in 2005. He was my coach, helped crew, and he paced me for the last 30 miles. As I wrote in my last post, he witnessed the great Sleepy/Sophie meltdown and got me running (er, death marching) to the finish line. I will never forget his patience, good humor, and "can do" attitude.
The Meltdown, Mile 85
Mike and I met while on a training run on the Wild Oak Trail. He was training for Wasatch, and I was a newbie in the VHTRC. By the end of the 26 mile loop, we had discovered we were fellow University of Virginia alums and lovers of great acoustic music. (Mike is a Dead Head, and I am not, but we still like a lot of the same music, and he will always let me know when he and his wife Jill are coming to Charlottesville for a Hurricane Party with members of Johnny Sportcoat). He offered to help me prepare and pace me for MMT not too long after, and that was that. As it so often happens in ultrarunning, it took one long run and we were friends for life.
I wish Mike could be out there with me on those MMTR trails on Saturday. He has finished this race at least three times, and he hates The Loop as much as I do. When I am out there swearing at the rocks--and at this awful thing called cancer-- I will swear a little louder and harder for Mike. And I will say a prayer, too.
Team Wahoo (Jeff Wilbur, me, Quatro Hubbard, Laura DeWald and Mike at Bull Run Run 50, 2005)