Trey Hill Photographs

from here to there and back again

Posted in personal by Trey on August 11, 2008

i rode in the back seat as our rental car hurtled toward the Golden Gate bridge, a copy of Ultramarathon Man open in my lap. i was a couple months from closing out my twenties; this had to be in response to facing the death of my youth.

um, what exactly am i doing here?

Dean’s shoes from Badwater.

i couldn’t help feeling like this was all going to be a big mistake.

late last July i had the opportunity to spend a day photographing Dean Karnazes for Accelerade; that trip left an indelible mark on my life. i arrived in San Francisco on Thursday night having never even heard of Dean. in fact, i didn’t even know that humans were attempting, let alone capable of accomplishing, the kinds of things Dean was doing. he’s an ultra-runner, which means he sees the first 26.2 miles as a warm up.

the day before i touched down in SF, Dean was completing a hellish event called Badwater – a footrace that stretches the 135 miles between the lowest point in Death Valley and the trail head to Mt. Whitney. i don’t recall where in the field he finished, but after finishing a race that takes nearly two days of continuous effort, he hopped in a rented minivan and drove home in time to spend the day with Scott, Sam & me.

after getting the tour of Dean’s San Francisco – which was eleven or twelve miles of some of the hillier parts of the city, all on foot – we said goodbye. i continued to scratch my head. was this guy for real?

what happened next was just as surreal.

the rental car bumped along Marina and i was second guessing this whole decision. i hadn’t run for exercise in nearly 15 years and the day with Dean certainly hadn’t inspired me in the same way it had Scott & Sam. i was now fully convinced, this was a very large mistake.

we headed out from the parking log of the Sports Basement toward Golden Gate. two or three hundred yards in my legs itched and my lungs burned. i wanted to turn around, but my friends – in danger of loosing that title – urged me to keep going. we turned up a path that was so steep i thought we would need ropes and carabiners and belay-talk.

once we made it up to the bridge, i thought seeing my thirtieth birthday was 50\50 at best; we’d run one mile.

my former friends talked me into running another 100 yards and somewhere in that last little stretch something amazing happend, all the pain went away. next thing i know i’m on the other side of Golden Gate bouncing up and down; i was scared that if i stopped moving the magic would dissolve and someone would have to carry me back to the car.

the return trip wasn’t all roses, but i made it back across the bridge and down the sheer cliff to the water. it wasn’t far from there back to the Sports Basement, but i wanted to stop. thankfully, my former ex-friends encouraged me on.

the whole journey was only 6 miles, but i finished.

today i officially begin to train for the White Rock Marathon in December and i can’t help but feeling like none of this was a mistake at all.

this was me right after that SF run, 12 months and 25 lbs ago.

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  1. […] some cool outtakes i was going through some old images from a trip we made last summer to San Francisco to shoot Dean Karnazes for Accelerade. looking back it was an inspiring few days. […]


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