So, a lot of people have asked what got me started in obstacle racing and trail running this year. It goes back to that bittersweet feeling after the last track race of the season. Getting a little better every year isn’t enough when everyone else is getting better too, which means training has to be well planned, intentional, and consistent. The rewards of training often don’t come without a little risk. Sometimes that reward is worth the risk, and other times it isn’t. But this was the perfect time to try new things and take a few risks. Over the past year, I had planned to test my feet at trail racing, and had been reading a little about obstacle racing too. My mom gets the credit for my first trail race. I told her she could pick my next race. So she booked me a flight to Salt Lake City for Xterra Trail Run Nationals. As for obstacle racing, Julia Webb gets the credit for getting me to my first race. During our acting debut for Tracktown: The Movie, Julia told us about the Warrior Dash World Championship and the qualifying race in Portland. Basically, it sounded fun, so I signed up. After placing second at Xterra Trail Run Nationals and winning my heat of the Warrior Dash in Portland, I wanted to see what I could do at the World Championships for these events. I loved the new challenges and the little unexpected rewards we got along the way when doing both obstacle and trail races.
After finishing the Warrior Dash World Championship, I was sore in all sorts of new places and covered in bruises, which, oddly enough, made me feel like more of an athlete rather than just a runner. It reminded me of my soccer and basketball days (see full WD race recap here). On the other hand, in the Xterra World Championship (race recap here), where I expected the race to be purely running, I walked and fell far more than I ever had in any kind of race before….at one point falling completely off the trail. Needless to say, I felt like much less of an athlete after that. After I found out falling was just part of the fun for a lot of other runners that day too, I felt a little better about myself. But overall, two World Championships later, I learned a lot.
You can read my Xterra WC race recap here, but there are a few specific things I hope to take from that race into 2015. First, there’s no place I’d rather be training than in Eugene with my awesome group of friends and teammates. Second, in the words of Michael Jordan, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” So even if it’s a shot in the dark, I’ll take it. The worst that will happen is, I miss. And finally, when everything feels like an uphill struggle, think of the view from the top. I’m excited to see what adventures are in store for 2015.