XXXI: Ultras


I wanted to be fast.
I wanted to win.
I wanted to prove everyone wrong.
I wanted to prove myself wrong.
I accomplished none of these things.

Try to imagine this strange complex (some of you may be able to relate). You love a specific sport, soccer, football, baseball, etc…it is your life, it is your desire, it is something you dream about. There is just something about the event that just drives you. You play, participate, practice, train, etc…However, when the day ends, you are still too short, too big, too slow, or you just don’t ‘have what it takes’.

How do you accept that reality? Do you quit? Do you keep going? What is your exit plan when your dreams don’t always pan out the way you envisioned them?

For about a month, almost two months, that has been the life I have been living when it comes to running. I love running. I love everything about it. I train, I run, I eat well, I practice with others, and I run races. I just love to run. However, in a world full of statistics it turns out that passion doesn’t always equal results.

To be honest; I’m 6’5 and around 250 pounds. Overall I am just a big guy that towers over other people. There was not a lot of biomechanics that came with this physical package. Where MC and many other family members thrived in athletics; I looked good, but when push came to shove, I fell down. A lot.

I needed a change up. I didn’t want to vacate running because I still love the sport. However, I could slowly but surely feel the burnout growing within my own heart. I was growing tired of lining up for a local 5K race, running the race, and finding similar results. This year alone I’ve finished 4th in my age group in four different races. The ‘click’ just isn’t there, and now I’m starting to accept that reality.

Praise God for random strangers, stupid ideas, and foolish attempts.

Several weeks ago I wrote about making friends, trying out speed running sessions with random strangers, and even my involvement of being on a city running team for a local business. I needed all of those things, desperately. They were all the slight pushes I needed to move away from what was comfortable, but not fulfilling, and into something extremely uncomfortable yet incredibly fun.

Trail racing.

This is running on trails that are designed really for mountain bikes. A lot of rocks, roots, dirt, and the such. I’ve been out a few times, and each time I come back loving it that much more. Partly because of the technical challenge, partly because trail running people are a very special, close-knit group. Also, the distances for the races are a little different compared to standard 5K. They range from 7 miles to 20 miles to 50 miles to 100 miles, and everything inbetween.

I needed this. Road running was just becoming stressful, frustrating, and the love was really lacking. This is new, refreshing, and at the level of insanity that I’m comfortable with.

Because of all of this I’ve joined up as a volunteer for construction projects on our local trails (AKA: more friends), I run with a specific group each Monday (AKA: more friends), and of course our running team comprises of several trail runners (AKA: more friends).

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Flyover Trail Racing (I have no idea what I’m going to do with this)

This has also allowed me to experiment with design and concepts for logos, brands, and marketing. I launched (for fun) a Facebook page, blog, and Twitter account really recapping my experiences in this new sport.

Personally, and this is not something I would have predicted, it is the support that is best part of this transition. These crazies all enjoy doing foolish things on the trails, and they don’t make excuses about it. I don’t have to go to races alone, I don’t have to talk to myself about my adventures, I now have a group of people that are all just as unstable.

I consider that quite the blessing.

Here’s to the ultrarunners. You untable, insane, awesome group of people that I can call my friends.

-D-

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Mobile Minutes: All Night


Turns out even sleeping pills can’t keep one asleep.

Up and moving by 5:00 AM. Out the door by 5:30 AM. Life is just like that. I get excited and nervous about school, so I wind up waking up early.

Add that with the knowledge of moving next month into a crazy blessing of a house that I couldn’t even dream up, and it just asks for a restless night.

Dearest reader, starting at the end of October, for the first time ever, I’m going to have my own washer and dryer!

Here’s to short nights, insane blessings, and exciting Monday’s!

-D-

Mobile Minutes: Come & Go


I’m under the assumption that this is part of growing up…

You can’t give 100% commitment to everything.

In a strange, weird, fun turn of events I’ve been requested of my social media knowledge, at school. It turns out our administration has a desire to be an interactive school for parents and students. That’s seen through social media, such as a YouTube channel for the building. There’s much more detail to that, but it has equaled time teaching about my trade. Very cool, humbling, and a very weird way God has shown me how He’ll use previous jobs in my current life.

I’ve also been blessed with the opportunity to be in the “summer academy” for instructors this summer. It’s practically summer school for teachers, plus pay and graduate hours.

Furthermore, tomorrow I’m meeting with our school’s cross country coach on potentially coming on board for next season. This includes running the 100 mile club over the summer with students. Another humbling moment of seeing God prepare the direction for my life.

With that said though, there’s another side to this coin. Those events have knocked me out from going to El Salvador this summer. I’m sad I won’t be able to go, but I love knowing many more opportunities will exist down the road. Also, as a large mistake tonight showed me, I’m not able to balance commitment like I should to other organizations. Sadly, in the near future I’ll say goodbye to another organization that’s meant the world to me, but that’s because they deserve someone that’ll be 100% invested into their program.

I’m a teacher now, I can’t be.

It’s a hard lesson to learn, but I’m sure I can fill it under “growing up”.

-D-

Mobile Minutes: Clean Sweep


I’m sitting at Starbucks waiting for Darco to close up shop for the night. She didn’t know I was here for a few minutes. Through the car windshield I watched this beautiful young woman sweeping the floor, ensuring the building is ready for tomorrow.

One of the hardest working people I’ve ever met. I’m so blessed to know that these days are slowly coming to an end. It’s an honor to know that I’m doing something with my life that will finally give her the break she’s been praying for.

Evictions, floating checks, watching how much a/c is being used…they’re all experiences of the past. We have a brighter future, a beautiful tomorrow.

It’s an honor to know that I can bring her rest.

-D-

Mobile Minutes: Fun Stuff


Alright; I feel bad for you [the reader] because so often you get onto this site and all you do is…read. You read about soccer, you read about journey’s, you just read, read, ready, etc…don’t you deserve some eye candy as well?

I’ve got some. Are you ready for this? Today we announced the first player for the Kansas City Shock, and the response has been overwhelming. However, we gave a teaser last week with a stunning photo from our good friends at Weber Creative Arts, check it out:

Shock The World.

Shock The World.

Does anyone else think that all of this is nearly as cool as I think it is?

-D-

 

Mobile Minutes: Workman’s Grace


It’s been a testy month at work.

While I”m not here to say that my job is rough, I’m burnt out, or discouraged; it has been challenging to say the least.

The car got hit at the soccer fields. First accident I’ve ever been in, and I wasn’t on the job. It didn’t do a significant amount of damage, but as the ‘new kid’ in the company, naturally I became instantly mortified.

Killed the battery on the car this morning. That resulted in a new battery and additional costs to the company.

I had to go to court down south earlier this week, it was job related [that’s the best I can say]. Super stressful.

The last several months I completely jacked up my expense reports. I mean, utter fail on so many levels. I messed up the amount of miles I was putting on the car.

My evaluations over time were…well…so-so, and my stores sales weren’t where I would have liked them.

As I was saying; discouraged.

Factor in running these, while also managing the Kansas City Shock. There were several mornings [and evenings] that I just felt defeated.

Until today.

Being the end of the month, it’s time for my monthly break from the run-around and just take a breather [aka, take care of the apartment]. Throughout today I was able to finish my store list, drop off some promotional materials, deliver my stuff to my supervisor, and then trek up to talk to a franchisee. Discussing business with this store owner for me has always been a pleasure, and today was no different. Just being able to see the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of how a operator functions on the day-to-day just fascinates me, not to mention being able to put together sales pitches for them always encourages me.

Furthermore, my boss [the top boss, over my supervisor] called me today about my accident. Giving me the green light to get the car repaired, and while I know an accident is an accident; the fact that he didn’t have a tone of voice on the phone, and the fact that he’s continued to always be calm [even when I worked for him inside a store back down south], it’s peaceful and reassuring.

Finally, my supervisor just sent me a kind text; thanking me for the continued adjustments and hard work that I’m trying to do up here. I confessed to her that my biggest fear is just screwing up and losing this awesome, God-send [literally], of a job.

Her reply was simple [aside from the ‘not as long as I’m alive’]:

“Keep the faith.”

-D-