…And then I ran all winter, and ran too much, and spent the spring and summer ready to never run again and missed out on all of the things I wanted to do with all of these new running people, and so when it came time to actually start working on helping out Sean and the rest of the organization committee with putting on the CastlePeak 100K, I was nervous. Organizing large events is something I can do; I know logistics, I know how to plan, I know how to execute… but I wasn’t really running, I didn’t know the trails, a 100K seemed sort of impossible after I backed out of Canyons in April, and all of that was just a little intimidating. That’s silly in hindsight, because while this group is filled with interested, talented, driven and unique people that are collectively very intimidating, they are also some of the most welcoming, easy-to-be-with humans I have ever encountered, and I am continually left with this overwhelming feeling that yes, yes I did make the right choice by dropping myself in these mountains last year.
What’s funny is that when I told people I was going to be spending the past week carting 60lbs bricks of water up to remote locations, playing a game of ‘how much can fit in my tiny little Subaru in one go’ while hauling large bins around Truckee, waking up at ungodly early hours to ferry around drop bags, ice upon ice upon ice, or running down Old 40 as the sun set pulling course markers and ‘Runners on Road’ signs, I was met with similar questions of ‘why’? Why give up all of that time for free? Why hike up with those water bricks? Why lose sleep for your full weekend? Or, my other favorite, from my current manager at my actual day job – ‘why are you doing this job, go focus on that!’
So while it was exhausting, my shoulders hurt, my back was bruised from those damn water bricks, my dirt tan is awesome, my car is a mess… even in all the moments of ever-so-slight discomfort, I loved every second of doing this. If you’re a runner and haven’t volunteered at one of these races – do it, and do it now (if nothing else, so you understand what went into getting you that water on the top of that mountain). If you’re not a runner and still have no idea what this is or why anyone would do it – do it, and do it now (if nothing else, so you can see those beautiful mountains). The support and acceptance and true ‘community’ of this ultra-world, for something that is such a personal, individual sport, is an attitude that we could (and should) extend into all aspects of our lives.
Sean turned to me in the middle of the Van Norden dirt parking lot, our cars filled with the remaining supplies, as we sat in the dark under the stars with our teenage aid station helper, a dropped runner, much-needed beers from the Soda Springs gas station waiting for our sweeps to finally reach us with the last four runners who wouldn’t make the station cutoff.
“I’ll give you one chance – and one chance only – to back out of taking this over next year.”
I moved to Truckee for the running, and I found my people. Of course I’m in.