It wasn’t until 9:00 p.m. last night that I finally decided to run the Lake McMurtry 25k trail race today and face the infamous LEAP O’ DOOM. (Spoiler alert: I lived to tell the tale!)
My life is currently a swirling vortex of chaos with Very Boring Adult Responsibilities beckoning at every turn and a WWF SmackDown on the horizon with the IRS.
Here are the two main reasons I’m so glad I chucked the responsibilities right out the window and told them I don’t wanna see their ugly mugs no more.
(1) I got to watch my friend Chrissy win first overall female in the 50k! Might I add, this came at the conclusion of her racing well over two hundred miles total in four consecutive weekends. She is an overcomer in every possible sense of the word and oozes joy out of her pores when most of the rest of us are just gushing sweat. You can’t be around her long without noticing that she is always quick to give credit to God and share the spiritual lessons He is teaching her during her many, many, MANY miles. I couldn’t be prouder of this amazing beast of a woman!
(2) In the last week, I’ve developed an utter fixation and fascination with the Barkley Marathons. If that doesn’t ring a bell with you, it’s regarded as one of the toughest races in the world (100+ miles of unmarked terrain, no aid stations, and elevation equal to climbing Mt. Everest twice) with a paltry 15 finishers in its three-decade history. Not only is it crazy hard, but it’s chock full of crazypants quirks, like an uber-secretive admission process, an unknown start time (you get a one-hour warning via conch shell), a requirement to bring a license plate from your home state and Camel cigarettes (which the race founder lights to signal the race’s beginning), and rules about finding books hidden along the trail and tearing out the page that corresponds with your bib number. What glorious madness.
Well, today I got to meet Lynn, a two-time Barkley runner! What are the odds?! Not good, I’ll tell ya, since there are only 40 participants per year. We had a long, lovely chat as I held him hostage and grilled him about the inside scoop from this bizarre little subculture. He even offered to let me in on the elusive process of how I could go about trying to get accepted to Barkley, which is the most hilarious thing ever. I can hardly find my way home from my back yard much less navigate over 100 miles with nothing but a compass, a map, and a prayer. BUT Barkley does accept one “sacrificial lamb” every year who has no right to be there and zero shot of finishing. 100% chance of failure? Shoot, I WAS BORN FOR THIS! Let me at my destiny!
I can’t tell you how much it thrills my weary soul to cheer my friends on, make new friends, and learn the stories of my fellow runners’ personal triumphs and inspiring perseverance. It’s worth every 5:00 a.m. Saturday wake-up, every Black Toenail of Doom (current tally: seven), and yes, I daresay, the total pummeling I’ll shortly be receiving in that IRS SmackDown.