Today, Much of my running takes place across these now silent mine fields. I run along old rail beds that once hauled coal on tiny mine cars to town for home fueling. Fields where large random humps are still present, some still sprinkled with "black gold", and prairies where the prairie dogs have mined coal themselves from within their tiny burrows. This is the beginning of my metaphor.. to dig deep. It's not just diggin' deep though. It's diggin' deep and puttin' all the chips in your coal cart. The deeper you dig the more chips you carry in the cart. The more chips in the cart the better she'll roll. In english: The harder I work and find strength within, the more gas I'll have in Leadville. The more gas in Leadville, the faster my legs will turn over.
This smiling young man to the left here is my great grandfather. My pap. He was a coal miner back in Hawk Run Pennsylvania. Back during the same time frame I spoke about unrest in above (1910-1930s). But that's not all. My grandfather himself, the man I've spoke of many times on this blog was a Pennsylvania Coal miner as well. Many of my uncles, as well as my grandfather and great grandfather, were coal miners back in the days when coal was mined by hand and pitch fork. They dug and dug deep. My pap died because of his years of tireless labor in the mines. Black lung, coal dust itself, consumed his lungs and suffocated his last breath. You see, not only am I running across, around and through mines of a distant time and of long ago, coal mining is in my blood. Digging deep and working hard is in my blood. Stubbornness and a resolve and determination to succeed.. is in my blood. When I run across these dormant coal fields day in and day out; I'm thinking about my heritage and the heritage of this area. I'm constantly being reminded of the blood, sweat and tears it takes to become a coal miner... and to be a ultra runner.
This brings us to the Leadville 100. I've decided to run the Silver Rush 50 Miler on July 17th as a training run for the Leadville 100. This series of races was started to help create an economic boom in a mining town gone bust in Colorado's High Rockies. Around Leadville, they mined silver. Ken Chlouber, the races founder and not retired RD was one such of those miners. It all ties together. Whether it's the coal fields of Hawk Run, PA or Louisville/Superior, CO. Or the silver mines of Leadville. Countless men dug deep to get the ore in the cart. They put it all on the line.. and thats what I aim to do over the next 50+ days. Leadville... I'm comin'.
|My shoes and my coal statue of pap.|