Ultrarunners are always looking for new challenges whether it’s bigger mountains, longer runs, or more extreme weather. Anything that is out of the ordinary or could be considered epic intrigues us. We’re trying to find the next big A Adventure. And when we find something that tickles our fancy, we’ll spend countless hours planning and dreaming about making it a reality. These are our big events that occur periodically throughout the year. The ones we actively seek out. Our weekend escapes.
But what happens when (small a) adventure comes knocking at your door? When your car breaks down 5 miles from home, do you call a friend for a ride or walk it home? If the electricity is out for more than a day, do you make do or book a room at the nearest hotel? If the weather forecast for your camping trip calls for torrential rain all weekend long, do you go anyways or decide to cancel? If you’re like me, you’re all about the big Adventures, but when the small “a” varieties come along, you’re phoning a friend or heading to the movies. And that’s me nine hundred ninety nine times out of a thousand. Because the truth is that lots of times adventures aren’t fun. They’re a hassle, an inconvenience, or make you uncomfortable. So when these adventures come along, we don’t even recognize that we’ve been presented with a choice. We’re so used to doing things a certain way that we don’t even stop to think that maybe there’s an alternative available to us. This morning I was presented with such an opportunity and not only did I recognize it for what it was, but I also welcomed it.
From Town to Country
My car’s Check Engine light came on the other day. I’ve got about 170k miles on it at this point so don’t feel comfortable driving it too long in that state since I have no idea what it could mean. I took today off to recover from my race last weekend (don’t worry, I’ll get to my race report eventually) and to take the car over to my mechanic. I got over there not too long after they opened. For some reason, I just assumed that whatever it was would be minor so decided I would just wait there for them to fix it. Well, it turns out they needed to order a part that wouldn’t arrive until this afternoon. So my choices were to hang out for another 4-6 hours, call a cab (I haven’t done Uber yet) to drive me home, or call my wife to come get me. The last option seemed best since she works at a school about 3-5 miles away though it would mean waiting 2+ hours and then inconveniencing her to come get me.
And then I had a little a-ha moment. Those weren’t really my only 3 options. They were the only normal ones, but if I wanted to try something a little different I could walk to my wife’s school and pick up her car. That way she wasn’t inconvenienced just because I didn’t have the foresight to plan for my car taking longer than a couple hours to fix. I didn’t have anything else planned for the day so could afford to take the time for a little walk. I had only traveled the route between her work and the garage a couple times, but was pretty sure (like 90%) that I wouldn’t get lost. I wasn’t sure exactly how far it was, but figured it wouldn’t take more than 90 minutes or so. And I was right. The temperature was in the 40s and while cold, wasn’t uncomfortable. One of the roads was pretty busy with virtually no shoulder, but I paid attention to oncoming cars and hopped off the road whenever necessary. And before I knew it, I was at the school getting weird looks from the other teachers wondering how I got there. Walked from town? They just shook there heads and chuckled to themselves. I guess when you’re known for running 100 miles, a little walk is well within character. But it wasn’t. Not really. Because while I thrive on Adventures, I don’t partake in adventures very often. After today I think that may change.