Summited Hope Pass today and had a really cool experience. I may have been hallucinating. It was 12,500 ft and the air was thin. We had just climbed over 3000 ft in about 5 miles. I would love to say I ran up. I didn't. I pit one foot in front of the other and climbed. My breathing was hard, my heart was pounding in my ears, and my head was being squeezed with pressure. I had climbed up about 5 minutes ahead of my group. I arrived solo at the top. Sitting just beside the trail was an older couple. We chit chatted fir a few moments, and then came the question I get asked every day in various ways..."why do you run?". His version was, " what is your motivation for running Leadville?". Normally I stumble and stutter through. Sometimes I just said what I thought they wanted to hear. Often I just shrugged my shoulders. I knew that I knew, I just couldn't put it into words. Or maybe I was just afraid they would laugh or think I was weird. Breathless, tired, stripped down,, I blurted it out. "to learn and grow". There I said it. And then it flowed. It flowed out of me as I ran 5 miles down that mountain. Initially I ran for my health and longevity and happiness, but somewhere along the way it morphed into something much bigger and deeper. I run because somehow it is teaching me about myself and who I am. It is teaching me about others and human nature. it is teaching me that we are ALL lovely and precious and deserving. My perspective is no longer so narrow and self centered. Through running I am becoming a better human being. I ask myself, how does all this happen through "just running". I don't have the answer...yet, but I now can with confidence and not ashamed to say, "I run to learn and grow"