"A blank spot on the map is an invitation to encounter the natural world, where one's character will be shaped by the landscape. To enter wilderness is to court risk, and risk favors the senses, enabling one to live well.

...The time had come to protest with the heart, that to deny one's genealogy with the earth was to commit treason against one's soul."

-Terry Tempest Williams, Refuge

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Major Clarification

      I am writing this from a coffee shop in Boise, Idaho on a fresh grey day, in the midst of the journey back West.  We're in the downtown, amongst cool historic buildings, near the Bittercreek Ale House, where we ate locally produced food and swilled marvelously hopped beverages last night.  Yesterday we drove up here from Salt Lake City, through the vast plains and low curvaceous mountains of southern Idaho to the edge of the Sawtooth National Forest and that mouth-wateringly large green area on the map.  Looks like nothing but National Forest and wilderness from here all the way north to Missoula, Montana as the crow flies.  Just looking at it makes my heart beat faster and my legs tremble with desire.  My mind wanders: A run from Missoula to Boise, that'd be epic! Sick! I need to start planning, I need maps, maps, maps!

Reign it in Willie, reign it in dammit!  Get back to the topic at hand.  

Ok, this is what I wanted to share:

Just go for it, anything! Now! The time's a wastin'!

        There's something that needs to be clarified here, something of the utmost importance.  To truly and fully know Animal Athletics, this point must be understood.  

        Of course Animal Athletics comes off as pretty hardcore and a little crazy, potentially even scary to some.  To most people who haven't chosen to push themselves in those ways, hearing these harrowing tales may be exciting and possibly somewhat inspiring, but the adventures may generally just seem unaccessible and too extreme to ever sanely consider for themselves.  Some may see Animal Athletics as an elitist group, young men taking risks, able to spend the time training and escaping to the outdoors.  Fun to read about (clearly!), but only really applicable, and accessible, to those fit enough, crazy enough, and pain-seeking enough, to run 50 miles or more in the mountains.

  This is not the case.

        Finishing your first 1 mile run or your first 100, your first 5 or your first 50, would elicit the same response from Animal Athletics: You are a freakin' Badass! F*** yeah, Halleluja, Yeehaw!  (High fives all around, poppin' bottles, etc.)  'Cause YOU went for it, did something that was big for YOU.  Nothing else matters.

        One of the things that I love most about participating in races is the variety of people you get to run with, men and women, old and young, short and tall, stout and skinny.  All out there by choice, battling away, suffering for fun.  I love seeing people run in general, around cities or towns, on the streets as you drive by.  The variety of gaits, all the unique, quirky, sometimes downright funky personal styles of moving along, step by step.  The simplest act, partaken by free will.  All different kinds of people, sharing a common instinct, united by the experience.

Sharing a common instinct

United by the experience

  Plain and simple, the essence of it is this: it's not about running, or climbing, or any of that at all.  Not about how fast or far or high.  It is only about pushing yourself, in whatever way that may be for you.  It's about taking measures to break up the routine, to continue evolving, to avoid stagnation.  It's saving up money for a trip to a place you've never been, never seen, getting up the nerve for a walk at night through the woods, running around the block without stopping for the first time, drawing something even though you think you suck at art, making something by hand, doing it yourself.  It's about snapping out of it for a second and reexamining, giving Nature another look, another thought, taking stock with fresh eyes, thinking about what you're eating, feeling how you're feeling.  It's about trying, somehow, bit by bit, to get the better of the Fear that runs through our lives and permeates our culture.  So do something, make a big goal, plan a trip, just go for it, anything! Now! The time's a wastin'!
        In summation, when we say All are welcome we mean All are welcome.  As we've said it's about the love, and love doesn't care if you run 7 minute miles or 10 minute miles, or even if you run at all.

Make something by hand
Avoid stagnation
Continue evolving

Please enjoy this week's music video:

No comments:

Post a Comment