Sunday, December 26, 2010


Listening to the Dirtbag Diaries, this morning, "What We Had", about how a friendship developed into a company, called Paradox Sports where a guide takes disabled athletes/folks out to remote fly fishing locations in Alaska, I thought "how extraordinary". Both the guide, and the fishermen.

I highly recommend checking out the link and "Liking" them on Facebook.
"Paradox Sports seeks to recognize and foster an individual’s potential and strength, defying the assumption that people with a physical disability can’t lead a life of excellence. We provide inspiration, opportunities and specialized adaptive equipment so that the physically disabled can be active participants in human-powered outdoor sports. This mission, coupled with an individualized mentor ship program and a strong volunteer ethic, ensures success by providing opportunities for everyone to give back to the community."

Then I thought of a kind of stereotypical American. How very un-extraordinary they are. Go to work, go home, eat potato chips, watch TV, play some video games, go to bed.

Then I think of my outdoor ultra community where extraordinary is...the ordinary.

When Adam says he's going to run the Appalachian Trail, I just nod my head. Of course he is. There is no "that's crazy talk!" "what, why on earth would you do that?" No, the community understands that. Of course you would want to.

"If if wasn't hard, everyone would do it." A common theme, marathon and beyond.

Then there is this: (via Gary Gantrell)

1) You will never accomplish great things with small goals
2) There is no guarantee you will have a chance tomorrow.

Where the idea of a double Laurel Highland (140 miles) or a double Ring (144) miles isn't blinked at. It's more a matter of being interested in when the person is going to achieve/attempt it, more when will it be and logistics involved.

Where my ordinary world gets up at 3 am to run 50 miles to put your name on a short list with others. Where you sleep outside in December because you're training to run 135 miles pulling a sled.
Where you guesstimate your finish time at a no-shirt, no buckle, low key 100, unsupported remote trail race at 34 to 48 hours.
This is my ordinary.
Looking from the outside in, maybe we do seem like superheroes. Or reckless fools.

But in my reality, my ordinary, great feats of endurance, strength, mental fortitude (or craziness) is the norm.

And I feel so lucky and blessed to be included in the extraordinary crowd where I can run all night by myself on a mountain trail and not be afraid. To look at an elevation map with 2000 feet of climb and considerate it "doable". Where training runs 4-6 days per week. Where folks mention and do run their birthday age in miles-usually the over 30 crowd.

I'm so glad I put down the cheese puffs off the couch a few years ago and re-discovered the great outdoors. There is hardly anywhere I would rather be than hanging with my very ordinary (extraordinary) ultra family.

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