Welcome to the third and final installment of Tales From the Trails: The Good, The Bad and The Inspirational, a review of my hiking trip in Utah.
I love it when my Higher Power puts me in the path of inspirational people. And on this trip, He did not disappoint.
In my last installment I mentioned meeting a hiker named Glen. When we saw him the day after initially meeting him I tried to start up a conversation. For the first few minutes he didn’t seem to remember me (he later told me he meets a lot of people while hiking). But after we talked I could see a look of recognition. Then he said, “You were wearing a triathlon t-shirt from Brentwood, Tennesse, right?’ Why, yes I was, thankyouverymuch. Glen went on to tell me that he does triathlons. And I was delighted to learn he’s done an Ironman distance. For the uninitiated, the Ironman is a 2.5 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run. Most of these events have a 17-hour time limitation. What inspired me about Glen was he finished his Ironman with only 19 minutes to spare. He didn’t moan about being slow, he was so happy to have finished. (For the record, I don’t consider his finishing time slow!) He explained that he really didn’t train very much and so he felt pleased with the results. I loved his spirit.
On the last day of hiking the hubs made it to the trail summit ahead of me (no surprise). Once I joined him he was in conversation with a group of hikers. One of the women in the group came over to talk to me. One thing lead to another and we started sharing about the endurance events we do. One of her friends asked me, “Do you realize you’re talking to a former Runner’s World magazine cover girl?” It turned out I was talking with Skip Swannack. Skip was indeed on the RW cover once in the 1970s. She’s run plenty of marathons including the Boston (which one must qualify to have a spot). But her biggest claim to running fame in my opinion, is she was the first woman to earn a belt buckle at the Western States 100. That’s a 100-mile run, my friends. She did that in 1979 in under 22 hours. She’s also run the Pikes Peak Marathon. I can’t imagine running in such thin air. I once went to the top of Pikes Peak in a tram and thought I would pass out due to lack of oxygen. Seriously.
If you Google Skip you’ll find all kinds of stats from her many endurance events. She’s a Bad MammoJammo and just as nice as she can be. While she no longer runs, she hikes and is in great shape. It was such a treat to meet a running legend.
I continue to be amazed at how I’m put at the right place at the right time in order to meet inspirational people. Coincidence? I think not.