Jackalopes, Hot days and Uncomfort

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Jackalopes, Hot days and Uncomfort

Recently I had the great opportunity to catch up with dear friends who I hadn’t seen in a while. In addition to the usual reasons for wanting to get together we all had recent special “moments” to share.

Scott had just completed his first every 100k run (actually 105k with about 14,000’ of climbing) and Jennifer her first 50k run (actually about 55k) and I having recently finished my 500-mile (actually 520 mile) bike race. We enjoyed a drink and tortilla chips and began to swap long and high tales (altitude, not cannabis) about how we each fared.
We all had our highlights, Scott’s being the best, having actually seen, approached and then petted an “angry, agitated” jackalope, with sharp horns and even sharper teeth – late into his event (obviously). Realizing it wasn’t a jackalope when the sharp branches of the bush scratched his hand from the “petting” he snapped out of his dehydrated, underfed induced delusion…
It was inspiring that the story swapping and suffer-fest sharing organically wound a path down the trail of why we do what we do and ultimately has led me to coach others to do it also…
Scott reminded me when he arrived in Pagosa Springs from Florida 10 years ago and literally stumbled across the Mountain Chile Cha Cha running and chile festival.
A half-marathon was taking place the next day and since he had run 3 or 4 times in the last month or so it seemed the perfect thing one might do on vacation at 7,200’ coming from sea-level.
Unbeknownst to him, that same Mountain Chile Cha Cha was my first ever venture as a race director. And – unbeknownst to either of us— my passionate speech that day, about “paying it forward,” creating a charity that combined my passion for trail running and cycling as a way to raise money for getting more kids out in the wild (www.joingecko.org) would inspire him to not only finish the half-marathon but ultimately to move his life to Pagosa Springs.
At the same time I was to discover how rewarding race directing, scholarship endowment and ultimately coaching would be. Ten years later we now come to the same place, despite our very different worlds and perspectives.

All of it – each race, each training day – each coaching session – each finish – and unfortunately when it happens – each hiccup along the way is about DOING.
It may have been the tequila, the spirit of the moment or, the sharing of one another’s recent accomplishments but we found ourselves in a collective, reflective state of mind. And (pay attention here – this is the lesson of this day’s story) all at once came to realize that it really is about Amazing Your Self.
My accounting and sharing of the recent Hoodoo 500 wasn’t about me winning – It was about the process – the highs, and more importantly the lows. How bad my feet hurt and how I pushed through it.
Scott’s account wasn’t about the fact that he had just run farther than he had ever run in his life. It was about the Jackalope and the dire straits that put him in that frame of mind.
Jennifer’s account wasn’t about the fact that she had just run farther than she had ever run in her life. It was about agonizing through the “brutal heat” only to get to an aid station and learn it was 68 degrees.
For each of us it was the Journey.
Reminding ourselves along the way that Quitting is easy and long remembered….
But, finishing is HARD and you will never forget.
We then shared short snippets of how we were each scared for our first 5k, then our first half, then our first full, then our first century, or 100 mile run, or half- and then full Ironman.

What matters and what counts and what is worth sharing is that for each of us, for all of us, wherever the line is drawn between what is comfortable and what is not – stepping across it -getting out of our comfort zone and into the uncomfort zone – and then conquering it is a journey worth taking regardless the distance.

Wherever your line is – wherever your “edge” is I’d love to be part of your journey to cross it – to accomplish it – to help motivate you to enjoy the beautiful feeling that comes when you Amaze Your Self. Because that my friend, like tequila and tortilla chips – is even better when shared.

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