Monday, August 3, 2015

Being the "Bad Guy"

In 2006, I ran the Vermont 50-Mile Endurance Run with a guy named Joe Desena. Joe was an accomplished endurance athlete, with deep pockets, who had visions of creating a major race series in his new town of Pittsfield Vermont. He spent most of the race trying to talk me into directing his series for him. He would be the owner, and financier, and I would be the RD.. doing the grunt work. I passed up the opportunity because I was in college at the time working on my 2nd degree. Andy Weinberg eventually got wrangled into the job, and the Peak Races was born. I helped those guys out in any way that I could. I was Andy's protege of sorts. I went to every race and paid VERY close attention to anything and everything I could. Soaking in all of the race directing experience that I could.

In December 2006, I wrote Joe and Andy and e-mail introducing them to an event in England called the "Tough Guy Challenge." I then went on to convince them (easily) that America needed a similar event.. and the Death Race was born. (I can legally say this now!) My main job at Peak Races, besides being Andy's assistant RD a few times, was course marking. Jason Hayden designed the courses, then as race weekend came, I'd head out and mark it as close to perfection as I could. I took pride in my roles with Peak, and I climbed every rung of the ladder I could up to directing my own race in 2008.

In November 2008, I put on the First Ever 200-Mile Ultra in North America (that I know of). It was in Pittsfield, VT and my offering was a part of the same Peak Races brand I had helped for 2 years prior. I called it the New England Ultras, and hosted a 200, 100, and 50 mile event. It didn't go nearly as I had planned...

Thursday, July 16, 2015

I'm NOT Crazy

I'm back, if only briefly, to offer you this very important public service announcement. There are no words good enough to stress the importance of what I'm about to say. The importance of it for me, for my peers, and for perfect strangers. It just needs to be said and.. I wanted to write this before I dive into any formal race reports that I've been meaning to get to (2014 Mogollon Monster 100, 2015 Twin Mountain Trudge, Rockin K 50 Mile, Dirty 30, San Juan Solstice.. and soon the Never Summer 100k) because this is pretty damn important.

My name is John Paul Lacroix and I live every single day of my life with depression. It is an incredibly terrible disease that was handed to me. Partly genetically and partly due to circumstances of life. After living with, and suffering from, depression for the last 23 years of my life; I find it incredibly important to be open, and honest, about my experience. My thoughts, my feelings, my fears.. all of it.. publicly. Regularly I have people tell me that I need to NOT be so public about it, and I need to stop posting because people think that I'm crazy. Well... I'm NOT crazy. I'm just different from you in that I live with a disease chances are you don't even understand.. and I live with this disease in a way that most people view as taboo. That's not crazy in my book... it's IMPORTANT.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

RR: 2014 Bighorn 100

June 20-21, 2014
Dayton, WY
Time: 32:13:36
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Road to Redemption
The say you measure a man not by how many times he gets knocked down, but by the number of times he gets back up. I vividly remember sitting at the Footbridge Aid station in 2012. I had slowly peeled my shoes off my feet to look at the maceration, to poke at the blisters, and decide if I wanted to continue. I was looking for someone to tell me it was OK to go home, and my crew had done just that. Normally in races, I make a list of what I'm willing to go through to reach the finish line. For the 2012 race, I didn't make that list. I didn't care. I was tired, worn out and ready to take a break from Ultra Running.. so I did.

After 4 months off in 2012, I rediscovered what Ultra meant to me and the role it played in my life. I got back into the swing of things, lost a ton of weight and strived to keep knocking off the BHAG goals I set for myself. Since 2012, it's been in the back of my mind that I need to return to Bighorn to finish what I started. I needed redemption.. this is that story.

Sick As A Dog
In the days leading up to this years Bighorn 100, my wife had a bout with Food Poisoning. I did everything I could to try and stave it off but it was no use. Thursday morning, the day before the 100, the day I was to drive the 6 hours to Sheridan Wyoming.. I woke up early to puke my brains out. It came out of both ends. My stomach turned and churned all day long and I struggled to keep myself hydrated and fed... and prepared to run 100 miles. Instantly, thoughts of doubt came into my head. I was so sick, I doubted I would make it past the first crew station. I knew I would start, but lasting was hugely in question.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Signing Off

I first started blogging in 2003 after returning to hiking New Hampshire's 4000 Footers. Back then my blog was on a .mac account and mostly just a collection of hiking reports from my trips in New Hampshire. My goal when I started doing this, was to simply share my adventures with people. All I wanted, in the beginning, was to show people what was possible. Normal People. Regular People. Out of shape or lost people. Because let's face it.. I was incredibly lost at 23 years old. Then I produced my film, and became a sort of public figure in the New England Hiking Scene. I loved it. I felt like I was somebody. I'll never forget the night of my film premier, a couple came up to me after just having purchased a DVD copy of my film.. and they asked me for an autograph. I was really taken aback, but at the same time.. life changed for me in an instant.

I remember when I first met Tim Seaver, the now former NH Peakbagging Speed Record Holder. Driving home from his house the night I interviewed him, I knew I wanted to run Ultras simply because I wanted to BE somebody. I was incredibly unsatisfied with, and terrified of the notion, of leaving this world as a nobody. I'm sure a lot of that has to do with depression, and things I had been through in my past.. etc etc etc. So when someone asked me for an autograph.. I felt like I was there but not quite.. getting "closer."

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Clarity

Back in March when my friends threw me the surprise party to convince me to be a race director, I was incredibly honest with them that night about my trepidations in regards to jumping into that pond. Some of them were expected, "I've been very vocal about RD's who make a killing off of races" to which they replied, "You don't have to make a killing off of one race, but you should make some off a few races." I continued with, "I've done this before and got screwed by the guy who was supposedly the 'funder' and 'help'" to which they replied, "but he's not here now and you learned a lot from your mistakes." But it was the next point that is was made me hesitate the most and to which this post is pointed at..

"I'm not sure that what I want to build, would catch on around here. I'm not sure it's worth the work. I'm worried that Ultra has passed it by, and now is the time for something different, something I don't really have a desire to direct." ...  To which they replied, "You build what you think our sport, what Colorado, needs John.. because we can tell you.. the sport, and the state needs it."

Despite having the backing of 13 of my closest friends.. I was, and still am, terrified of failing at this. There is no backtracking on things I've said, but there is a better understanding on my part for things I may have lobbied against. Experience is able to provide us with fresh perspectives. Digging for facts, discovering the truth, talking to people and most importantly, listening to them, affords us the opportunity to make more sound judgements and/or opinions. I've long had a collection of opinions out there about me. Since long before I became an ultra-runner, I was in the hiking circle of the Northeast. Before that I was in wrestling circles. Before that, it was soccer. Which leads me to my first big thought on all of this..

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

They've Taught Us Something..

I didn't have the chance to make it down to Silverton this past summer to participate in the Hardrock 100. Part of me is still waiting for my turn to be "chosen" to head down and become a member of the family. But I did live vicariously through a number of runners who did make the trek down there, be it to spectate, or volunteer, or pace, or run in the prestigious event. The stories they came back with speak volumes to me in how I envision Ultrarunning, and I do believe a few runners taught us something out there this year.

Killian Jornet was the odds on favorite to win Hardrock before anyone even showed up in town. I can't imagine the immense pressure that comes with being a runner of such caliber; showing up into a small mining town in a foreign land with all eyes on you. Killian's talents are certifiably undeniable in our sport. He is the best of the best right now, so long as it comes to mountainous courses. But he showed us so much more than just his talent at this years Hardrock 100. He showed us the kind of heart and soul that makes this sport what it is. A community.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The 33rd Birthday

Well.. today is my birthday. It's been a very long time since I've been a fan of my birthday. To me, it's mostly just another day in the long line of 12,054 days of my life. (289, 272 Hours) (17,356,320 Minutes)(1,041,379,200 Seconds).. and counting. For some reason, my birthday week always ends up being the week I am most depressed every year. I think the biggest reason, besides the fact that I suffer from major depression, is that I take time to really be retrospective and introspective of the last year and where I am in life when the clock turns to 33.

Since January 2, 2013.. I have had a job all of 6 months. At 33 years old, I am a few months away from having to sell my house, and move my wife and son back into an apartment. I am nowhere near where I thought I was going to be at 33.. no where near what I thought when I was an adolescent, a teen, a 20-something.. not even close. I can openly admit that I struggle every morning to wake up, and I struggle every night to fall asleep. I lay awake and do nothing but obsess about who I am, where I've been, where I'm going.. I wake up in no mood to "do this again." The only thing that keeps me going, is my wife and son.