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Ah, push it.

Not sure who actually wrote “Ah, push it.” I mean, was it Salt, or Pepa, or a joint effort? Sure, it’s neither here nor there, but I’d kinda like to know, since I’m using that bit of wisdom for this post. I’d also like to add that I’ve always appreciated Salt-N-Pepa using just an “N” instead of the entire word “AND.” It’s efficient, and frankly a darn good time saver.

Oh, and hello by the way…it’s been a while.

I took a couple weeks off from blogging as you might have noticed. The ultramarathon I direct (Mendocino Coast 50K) was a couple weeks ago, and with it a ton of work, time, and stress. Now that it’s over, I’m back.

Ultimately, it was fun….

The race is in its third year and has sold out every year. This year, runners from 18 states and Iran came out to my little town of Mendocino and hit some pretty incredible trails.

As I wrote above…fun.

I never expected this race to be successful. I put it together for one simple reason: 1) I had discovered ultra running and as I was training on local trails for a 50 miler, I thought “dang, someone should put on an ultra marathon out here.” Next thing I know…

Those of you who know even a little about me know that race directing isn’t my first job, second job, or even third job. But like the other work I do, I love it. Even with the stressful sleeps leading up to race day. Even with the anxiety and fear. When the last runner crosses the line I think, yeah, ok, I’ll do it again.

And though it’s only three years old, because it’s been a sold out race from year one, people have asked me the following questions:

  • Why don’t you add additional distances to the race, like a half marathon, 50 miler or 100K?
  • Why don’t you add a fun run for children before the ultra runners start their race?
  • Why don’t you direct other ultras?

My answers (to myself, mostly)?

I don’t wanna rock the boat.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

I don’t wanna push it.

You hear that, Salt and/or Pepa? I don’t wanna push it.

Here’s why…

Some things are actually just right the way they are. Sometimes, pushing it doesn’t make things better, and can actually make things worse.

Humans are wired to “chase the high.” We want to feel good and be happy, and get as much good and happiness as we can. If we feel good doing something, we want more of it! So if we find a small bar of chocolate pleasurable, then it would seem logical that 5 full-size bars of chocolate would be at least 5 times better, right?

Of course not…And…

Turns out we feel good and happy when we are able to recognize those times when, well, we’re high enough.

It’s up to us to recognize when something is just right.

Interestingly, my experience with my race is totally related to my work as a Small Steps coach. Through my work I help people gain a better understanding of parts of their lives that are actually pretty frickin’ good (or at least not nearly as bad as they think), IF, they don’t compare them to what they see in the media (social and otherwise), television, etc. Their own health and happiness may not need the massive overhaul they initially believe it does just because the Kardashians seem happier and more successful.

If I check out what other races/Race Directors are doing, then clearly my race is not the biggest, best or most successful. For me, though, it’s right where I want it. It fits within the entirety of my life. I can do it AND do the other work I do. I can do it AND keep balance with my family life. And, by keeping the race intimate (150 runners) I am able to greet every single runner as she/he crosses the finish line. Plain and simple, that’s the very definition of a successful race when I think about it without looking to anything external.

In our efforts to live the best lives we can, we are best served by turning inward whenever possible and being open to the possibility that some things we do might be right on the money. As for the things we do that aren’t? Being open to the possibility that they may not be as far off as we think.

How great to know when we’ve hit a place that is truly right for us. And with that knowledge comes this knowledge: once we hit it, we don’t need to push it.

 

 

May 9, 2018

Sid Garza-Hillman

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