The Great Adventure (Race)

Last Saturday was the "flying river of rain" that landed on Portland. While you might have been drinking coffee, looking at the water bead along your window as gently as a fire hose would a car, I was going for a fun-run with some new friends in Forest Park.

Worst Pace Scenario, winner of the pose award.

Worst Pace Scenario, winner of the pose award.

Our team "Worst Pace Scenario" was hand-picked to bring together some of the best raw talent in the amateur racing scene. We had one of the best finishers of the Portland Marathon, a polite but EXTREMELY disciplined young lady named "Erica".

We also had a maverick racer, more of a naturally talented and confident cross country veteran. "Dan the Dealmaker" had flavor and swagger to spare.

The team manager was a hawk-eyed task wo(man) who was able to consistently-ish keep the team on time and on the map. "Leah" baked enough rice crispy treats to feed the team 10X over, so her impact was two-fold.

Our team shaman was a spiritual giant named "Bootsie" who was able to maintain positive mental attitude, gracious perspective and held faith that our team would win the day.

Clearly, I was assigned this team of professionals because I was expected to perform at the highest level. There was to be a lot of map reading and land navigation from point to point, and obviously, my skills were going to be heavily relied upon.

As our team coalesced in the early morning rain on some back road in Forest Park, we decided to let the Shaman take the first leg. I just knew this was going to be smooth sailing to victory...

1: Don't forget to have fun.

As I was tearing through the connecting trails of Forest Park like an injured zombie looking for food, some of my favorite songs started to play in my head. I found a rhythm to my muddy shuffle and it even became a little bit fun. I guess some people run for the enjoyment of it... not just to destroy opposing relay teams!

2: Define success.

I had been so focused on running fast (probably because we stayed in the lead the whole time) so I had not spent enough time clearly identifying how I would know where to turn off the trail. I just assumed there would be fireworks and ticker-tape and beer. Because I hadn't set myself up to spot my turn, I ended up running all over hell-and-gone, through people's backyards, and even the skyline memorial gardens. Yup, even an expert navigator like me can get lost!

3: It's ok if it's hard, just don't give up!

My team chose to test my mettle by dropping me off in the wrong spot. When I got out of the car, my muscles ached and had already seized up. I knew a mile or two on the trail would loosen them up and sure enough, the pain went away. I got plenty warm after another few miles in the wilderness. As I ran through the slippery trail toward what I hoped would be a rescue vehicle, I was reminded of Winston Churchill who famously said, "When you're going through hell, keep going."

4: Change your "got" to's, to "get" to's.

No matter what I expected to happen, the coolest part of this adventure run was that I got to explore places I hadn't been before, I got to work hard and suffer with my team, and I got to celebrate the conclusion of an epic undertaking. I made friends, got lost, got found, ate rice crispy treats and generally had a blast. Rivers of water, bone-chilling cold, one funky car with a funky-GPS system were all just part of the story.

5: Surround yourself with great people.

I cannot stress this enough. Sure, you may not be able to put yourself on an elite squad of runners like we did, but you undoubtedly have access to inspirational people in your industry, in your community and even on your Youtube channel. When you immerse yourself in great people, you end up letting their ideas sink into your mind, like how to start a long distance relationship via text. Or how to resurrect "tight" and put it back into the vernacular.

Thank you to Abbey and Kevin Hendricks who put together an amazing race of their own and to the North Portland Run Club who showed up to participate! And a very special thanks to Worst Pace Scenario, a cadre of real-ass warriors who made the best of a rainy situation! Respect.

-Coach Josh