Land Run Weekend!
Every year I get to Land Run in Stillwater to cheer on friends and clients and get a fluttery feeling in my stomach. Even though I’ve yet to run this race, it’s definitely on the bucket list.
Land Run started as a bike event put on by the local bike shop, District Bicycles. The owners, Bobby and Crystal Wintle are freakin’ amazing and started putting together this amazing bike race with 50 and 100 mile options. Bobby is so freakin’ energetic and positive for the whole thing that it’s hard to not get super pumped when you’re within a couple of miles of the downtown start/finish line. Then a couple of idiots decided they wanted to run a 50k, so they added a run portion. And then there were some more idiots that were indecisive and wanted to have their cake and eat it too, so they added the double – a 50k run on Friday and then 100 mile ride on Saturday. And every now and again they still get the random nut who attempts to run the 100 mile bike route. Needless to say, it’s a positively amazing weekend in Stillwater, Oklahoma. So I delayed the blog post a bit so we could have pictures and stories from this year’s event.
The real appeal of this race is that it’s not really a road race, and it’s not really a trail race. It’s a gravel race. Almost all of it is on the red dirt and gravel roads of north central Oklahoma. It’s windy. It’s exposed. And it normally has amazingly bad weather, although they got lucky this year with dry conditions and sun. The temperature at start time was roughly 32 degrees, with a high for the day around 60. Our own Amy (who hates running in the cold) actually ran her first 50k today. Pete Ippoliti decided to be even crazier and run the 100 mile bike route (not actually supported by the race)! Because that’s what these kinds of events do. They inspire you to do something crazy.
As endurance athletes it is important to have goals that scare you a little bit. They need to be doable, but crazy enough to get you to make training a priority. That and the events themselves are amazing things to experience. And while you can get a taste of that experience by volunteering or just hanging around, it’s not quite the same. There is something a little more primordial about being in the mix on race day, getting in touch with your inner demons that we spend so much time bottling up or pretending don’t live inside us. Being scared can be a good thing.
The kinds of goals that can do this for us vary from person to person. Sometimes it’s finishing our first 5k, for others it may be nailing that Boston Qualifier, while for someone else it may be crossing that finish line at Western States. There are a lot of folks for who getting that big hug from Bobby this afternoon is what it was all about this winter. Each of us should have our own crazy insane goal. That way we can really live it. It’s all fine and good to be able to do something that is really “amazing” in the eyes of the rest of the community, but if it doesn’t speak to us, then it doesn’t provide that same stimulus. It doesn’t quite fit that same need to get in touch with the primordial beast within each of us.
So let’s get a little crazy. Let’s get a little scared. Let’s go out and do something that intimidates the hell out of us. Because the only way to know what we’re really made of deep down inside is to put ourselves in the pressure cooker and see what comes out the other side. Diamonds are forged under intense heat and pressure. So shine bright. Do something crazy. Just don’t forget to pull your head up to breath every now and again.