Hey strangers. (Is making that word plural too hopeful? Hopefully more than one person is reading this.) Super lax with the blog posting schedule lately.
Freedom The Navy calls.
So, long and short – last Wednesday I was extremely privileged to be invited to Ragnar Relay’s first Trail Summit. Me and a few others from the Hill Country, Texas area were selected a few months ago to be Ragnar Trail ambassadors (we’re called Trail Warriors – boom!) We flew in with all the other Trail Warriors from all over the country to get together and learn all about Ragnar’s new Trail Relay series and how Ragnar is making life freaking awesome. If you have never ran a Ragnar Relay – or any overnight relay at all for that matter – you are in for a seriously awesome time that will leave you coming back for more and more. I can’t begin to describe all the things I learned at Ragnar/Salomon HQ without saying the words “awesome” or “rad” a completely superfluous amount of times. I won’t go into every single detail, but suffice to say this trip was more than just a trip for me. This video always gives me goosebumps:
If that doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will.
Besides the obvious mind-blowing radness of visiting Ragnar/Salomon headquarters, I think it’s seriously important for me to note here that I have absolutely never been to Utah, and I have been DREAMING of going there forever. We stayed in both Ogden and Salt Lake City, and it’s impossible to convey my feelings to people who are constantly surrounded with that sort of beauty how insanely out of this world my experience was. I have never felt so lucky in my life as I did in Salt Lake City, surrounded by a team of some of the coolest, most passionate people I have ever met. Something like that is not just an experience, it’s something amazing and special that (you guys are writing me off as crazy and obsessed at this point, bear with me) changes something about you. I know this sounds completely dramatic, but seeing people who care about sharing their labor of love is awesome.
This trip was something else. It made me think about a lot of things – about my running goals, about my goals in general. You can’t help but feel inspired to do awesome things when you hear the awesome things other people (not just Ragnar staff, but my fellow Trail Warriors as well!) are doing in their lives. Everyone’s different, and everyone is doing something awesome and special. So, I guess I’m done gushing – no gagging guys, this is serious!
While we’re telling fun stories…this experience reminded me of another amazing experience I had a few months ago. I’ve had great luck in having met amazing people doing incredible things in the trail running community. When I volunteered at Fuego y Agua’s Hunter Gatherer race last year, I was waiting at the cave “obstacle” that I was assigned to, chatting with some of the racers. The racers were required to climb down into the cave, crawl through a crack (that’s the best I can describe it – let’s just say it was a tight squeeze for a lot of them) and memorize some symbols they discovered at various points in the cave. The cavern was so tight that travelling through it was slow going and eventually we had to limit the amount of racers who could go inside to two or three, so we had a group of about two or three people hanging out with us volunteers while they waited.
Eventually the guys started asking us volunteers about our running experience, and one of them asked me if I had ever ran an ultra before. I kind of laughed, telling him I wasn’t quite there yet. He asked me what was the farthest I had ever raced, I told him I had done a few 25k races, a bunch of halfs, yadda yadda but I really wanted to run a 50k one day. He shrugged, and told me to just do it. What’s the worst that could happen? DNF? He told me the story of how he went to run the Copper Canyons Ultra, and DNF’ed about five miles from the finish line (or something similar – either way it was extremely close to the finish) and people gave him shit. “Why did you quit when you were so close?” “Why didn’t you just run the last few miles?”
The long and short of it is, he DNF’ed for a variety of reasons, but as far as the doubters, who cares? He ran like 45 freaking miles. Nobody can talk shit about that, because that’s still amazing. This sounds so completely freaking obvious, but to me at the time, the confident way he told me “Just do it, you got it.” made me suddenly very aware that…yeah, I could maybe do that too. So, it would be a bit of an exaggeration to say I went straight home and signed up for my first 50k, but I did do it very soon after. Which will bring us to the next post.
So this has gone on long enough. The point of this post is that life is beautiful and people are amazing, so let’s all believe in each other so we can do excellent shit.