March 11, 2014

Things that Matter

There are uniformly special races. Within a certain demographic, these are known, and have meaning. There is agreed upon significance.

I know a guy with a Western States buckle tattooed on his calf. I know another person who shows up to every goddamn race in his Boston jacket, which he takes off to reveal his Boston singlet.

Silly, maybe. But earned. And understood. You qualified. You went. You finished.

The race that matters to me, though, is The Hawk. Maybe the only race that matters, in that I could mix my calendar up any which way, but I need to be there.

It's on a trail system that's maybe five miles from my house, the place where I first - literally by accident - stumbled into trail running. Initially, I ran out there because there aren't really roads within eyeshot, so there was less audience. Being the self conscious sort, I didn't want anyone seeing me struggle to run/walk for an hour.

After a year or so of that moderate fitness, we get to 2011. Volunteering at the inaugural Hawk 100 (they added a marathon and 50-miler the next year) was - without hyperbole - the single biggest factor in setting me down the path towards "runner", rather than "fitness dork who runs some, and would maybe consider a marathon someday as a bucket list item".

In 2012, I ran the marathon (blew up, finished in around 4:15), volunteered at an aid station after, before accidentally pacing a guy for the last 40ish of his 100 (picked him up, never stopped). He beat the cutoff by a half hour, and it was about as happy as I'd ever been.

I came back in 2013, won the marathon, went to Starbucks, brought back coffee, sat around. Felt blissed out.

My parents got in on the aid station action instead. (Hi guys. Hope you don't mind that I posted a picture of you.)

This is, however, quite a bit of rambling without any conclusion. Because I don't know what I'm going to do there. Other than, you know, show up and run something.

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