The word “adventure” is one of the coolest words in the whole dictionary. It gets used completely wrong by most people, most of the time though…same as the word “epic,” but that’s for a different time. The definition of adventure is “an experience with an unknown outcome.” It’s a beautifully profound, yet simplistic word that so many of us have trouble grasping so many days of our lives.
Before I took over Tejas Trails, I was a director at an outdoor adventure camp for almost a decade. I thrived on seeing people have the thrill of experiencing something new. One of my favorite memories was when a busload of inner-city youth saw the stars for the first time. I was good at getting people to push their limits. Whether it was talking someone into slipping over a ledge to rappel, or jump into an icy cold river, or zip-lining, or having an actual personal conversation about hard topics beyond the weather — I just absolutely love seeing people I care about do hard things; especially hard things while recognizing the outcome is unknown!
When the opportunity came to be a full-time race director and owner of Tejas Trails, it was the perfect transition. Trail running in and of itself is foreign to many people; it’s too unknown, too intimidating, too raw. Then you throw in longer distances, and ultra-marathon distances, and it becomes something as unreal as a sci-fi movie to many, even many exercise enthusiasts. I get so excited to help people understand that pushing themselves beyond what they thought possible is completely accessible and attainable. All of us who run 100 milers and 200 milers and longer certainly didn’t start there. We maybe started with a 5k; maybe even walking it. But the difference is, those people decided to do the hard thing. They decided to go into an experience admitting and accepting that they wouldn’t know the outcome until it was over. They might have to hike, they might feel in over their heads, they might get a little scared driving away from the city lights, they might be intimidated hearing some of those nature sounds that aren’t yet familiar.
But my goodness, I’ve never been more sure of any one thing than this…it’s always worth it! I’ve said it a million times at the finish line between laps, watching someone thinking about quitting. I tell them it’s going to be worth it, and every single time, it is.
Since owning Tejas Trails I’ve seen some of the best of the best come across our finish lines…and there is a certain thrill to seeing the elites perform at that level. But, to be perfectly honest, some of my favorite moments are those runners who come in at the very end. The participants who hike/jog their way through the 10km or half marathon. Those who try the longest distance they’ve ever done and end up fighting the cut-offs and don’t give up. The tears and sweat and maybe even a little blood all mix together as they realize a dream come true. I get adrenaline when I picture those people’s eyes. They look so much more alive than the people I see inside the city limits doing another road run that they’ve always done and know they can do. Those folks out on the trails, who have no idea what they’re doing yet, look and sound like kids again! It’s flippin’ awesome!
There’s a beautiful adventure awaiting all of us in one form or another today. I can say that because it’s completely true every day.
I’m so incredibly humbled that Tejas Trails has been given the green light by all parties to start having our trail running races again, and that they’re starting to fill up again. We have a race every 2-3 weeks through each of the coming months. Each event has multiple distances from 3.1 miles to 150 miles, spread out over Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The race hubs are huge and the trails are long, so there’s plenty of room for social distancing. Each one of these races coming up is chock-full of adventures just waiting to be experienced. Each adventure is life-changing and life-giving. I truly hope every person around this beautiful Austin area finds it in him or herself to do something intimidating today! To let go. To have a true adventure. Maybe even to try the trails! Come find us and we’ll be ready to take you in, and we can all share some stories around the campfire afterward! Here’s to adventure!