Finding Inspiration in my Running Friends

I like memes. I cannot lie. They’re funny, provocative, inspiring, outrageous…they’re just fun to me. I am also a fan of trading cards such as baseball cards. As a kid I collected baseball cards. As a young adult I got into X-Men cards and, had a vast collection of them until a flood wiped them all out…that’s life, right?

Last month I was trudging through some deep, punchy snow on Mt Baker and sweat was dripping like a leaky faucet off of the tip of my nose and chin. I was exhausted but I had a goal that I wanted to reach. I wanted to make it to aid station 6 before 11:00 am and reach Mt. Baker’s Sherman summit during the Mt Baker Ultra. The thought going through my head was ‘do or die’. I wanted this so bad. As I rested my head on my trekking poles for the umpteenth time a meme came to mind. It was a picture of some dude standing with his back to the camera, on a barren hilly location, looking into a wide expanse of space and a thick fog quickly enveloping the landscape. In bold white letters above the dude, a statement read, “YOU CAN KEEP GOING LONG AFTER YOU THINK YOU CAN’T”. Those words hung over my mind’s eye and I put myself in the place of the dude and, continued my trudge toward the aid stations between me and my goal. To dramatically shorten a long story, I did not reach the summit but that’s a different story. This story is about memes and trading cards.

After that race (my failed attempt at the Mt Baker Ultra), the meme stayed with me but, it was no longer that dude, – that stranger in the meme with that powerful statement above him that was in my mind’s eye and, it was now actually me. So, I thought of making a personalized meme of me with that powerful statement. That seemed so arrogant, though. I mean, how could I share that meme with me on it…especially, after dnf’ing the race that inspired that meme? That thought led me down a path of thinking about the many people that inspire me. And, believe me, there are a lot of people that inspire me! I have a lot of friends that are runners, mountain climbers…these are people with amazing drives. They push themselves to new heights and further distances. They make it seem that the impossible is literally quite possible. I like to call these folks my tribe. And, that is when I began to think, why not make inspirational memes with the very people that inspire me, – my tribe? And so, I began doing that and, even made a running memes photo album on facebook containing inspirational memes with the very people that I love and I’m inspired by. Well, it didn’t stop there.

About a week ago my girlfriend’s son, Nicholas, was showing me his Pokemon cards and explaining to me what they’re about. I had absolutely no idea what the hell he was talking about BUT, the cards stuck in my head. As he continued explaining the Pokemon world to me my mind was thinking, baseball cards from my youth. It then hit me, how cool would it be to have ultra running cards or, simply, running cards? I mean, trading cards like the old baseball cards I used to collect as a kid? I then thought, who would actually give a shit about these? And, as thoughts usually do, they begin to mold a life of it’s own and quickly the thought evolved into, – make running cards of those very people that inspire me so much! I love keeping up with my running friends running conquests. I like taking pictures at races. I literally have thousands upon thousands of archived pictures I’ve taken at races that I host and, races that I go to that others host. I thought, I know photoshop just enough to be dangerous…I could do this.

For days, I continued to play out the idea of running cards in my head. Finally, I looked at a picture I had taken of a friend of mine at a recent run and thought, she ran 50 miles several months ago in one long shot. That had been such a big goal of this lady for the last couple of years. Finally, she achieved it and, I was there to witness it. It was quite an epic, moving moment. After this amazing feat by Luann the rest of the world continued moving on but I still found myself thinking about it from time to time. This was a big deal! This was a big deal to her. This was a big deal to me! I mean, she achieved this epic goal on a race that I host! How powerful is that? How moving! To make a long story longer, Luann became my first ever running card guinea pig. I googled “vintage baseball cards” and looked through hundreds of cards until I found one that I really liked and, created a template from it to use for my running cards idea.

After making that card and posting it online, I suddenly wanted to do more cards! So, I started cranking out more as I have time to do so. I’ve made another facebook photo album for running cards.

Posting these online vintage looking running cards seems to have struck a nerve with a lot of my running friends. They seem to love this idea. So do I! With these cards I get to share the feats and goals of my amazing running friends in a format that is so nostalgic. I literally love making these cards and posting them to that album and anxiously await a response from the subject of that card. My hope is that they will love it…My fear is that they will be offended by it. So far, a lot of love is emanating from these cards and, that makes me happy!

Can I monetize this? Probably not and, that’s not the intention. I’m just enjoying the process. I will keep making them and posting them online. I will continue making memes of my running friends and continue being inspired by them. Its wholesome fun for me. I hope you all that have seen these cards and memes like them as much as I do.

Thank you all for the great inspiration that you are in my life!

All the best,


Rough Runners.