On Aug. 21st, FWH Community Member @thejulianserrano embarked on The Leadville Trail 100… A 100-mile ultramarathon that will take him through rough terrains, dirt roads, and the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Why would he do this? In Julian's own words: “Nothing great comes from being comfortable. I’ll always choose hard as that will make me the best version of myself. This race will test my passion and grit on every level, so I will be ready for anything life will throw at me.”

Julian recounts his experience below and how it took an unexpected turn toward chaos.

The day started with excitement, energy, nerves, anxiety, and so much promise. I felt a heavy load on my shoulders of doing what I came to do… compete. When the gun sounded at the start of the 6th St. and Harrison in the quiet, cold, and beautiful city of Leadville, I ran into the darkness with the elite.

Through the streets, we made our way to a dirt road that led us to the single-track trail that wrapped through the turquoise lake. As I made my way through the forest I felt a change in energy, something just wasn’t right and I could feel it. As I swiftly moved through the technical trail I came down an embankment and rolled my foot on a rock. The unexpected. The battle arrived on my front doorstep 7 miles into the Leadville 100. Something I was not ready mentally to happen for a while.

I continued through the next 16 miles with my crew waiting for me at the outward bound aid station. During this time I shut down mentally and I physically pushed forward slowly. The fact that I had zero chance of competing utterly destroyed me. As I sulked and slowly moved through the power line I got outward bound with little spirit and little hope. Through the cow pasture, I began to realize this was the end of the road for Julian on this beautiful day. I found myself being passed by people and began to question if I had any business toeing the line. As I got to mile 26 I found this day coming to an end very soon. I sat down and my crew said you’re still in the fight, just make it to the next aid station. With a slow change in mindset, I went from wanting to compete, to simply making the cutoff time at the next aid station called half pipe. I hobbled out of the pipeline telling myself just keep moving. I made It to halfpipe with 2 min to spare.

At that moment I had a shift in energy. I thought to myself what if I can make it to twin lakes. I shifted my mindset to just endure. Endure the pain, and endure this moment because you are here for a reason. As I continued on I passed a water aid station and the gentleman said if keep the pace I should make twin lakes. I left that aid station and gave it my all but that wasn’t enough and I didn’t make the cut-off by 5 min.

Chaos can come at any time in life. Will you be ready? I wasn’t. And it took me entirely way too long to shift my mindset to just endure the reality of injury and continue to the best of my ability. As I continue to reflect, I have come to the realization that on August 21, I didn’t come to Leadville to finish 100 miles, I came to be humbled. I needed to learn a lesson that was more important than crossing 100 miles across the Rocky Mountains. I am a human just like everyone else and although I have different morals, values, and dreams… I am no different or special in any way.

Through this, I realized failure is good for the soul and mind. I am human and I am not perfect. I am on a mission to be the best husband, son, brother, friend, and human. I am grateful for what occurred in the city of Leadville. Adversity tells a lot about a man's character, but what matters is not the adversity that the man faces but how he reacts after the fact.

We're happy to report that Julian is back on his feet and ready for his next challenge. We're honored that he chose to fly the FWH flag during his race and we're eager to see how he leverages the strength gained from Leadville in his next pursuit.

Yours in hard work,

Joey

August 30, 2021 — Joey Bowen