The most valuable gift is experience
I always find myself reading my last blog every time before I write another. As a way to find what I was thinking, feeling and experiencing at that time.
Over the past few months life has really changed for me and us as a family. We are on the go go go all the time and when i see friends I get the ole tell me about your adventures talk. It is always fun to share with people the travels of the world although tiring at times.
Once Rachel came home from Asia we had decided to combine 2 obligations with seeing our best friends in Colorado. We decided on driving to do all of this to save money, enjoy the states and to bring the pups.. Apparently dog sitting is the most lucrative business in the world….
We headed up to Odessa where our son Wesley lives to get a day with him and to see the Odessa College. My great grandfather founded the college and it was a wonderful experience to go and see his pictures and to see him on the wall. For some reason this act of seeing all of this really made me wonder about what it meant to have a servant’s heart.
I dont want to sound all crazy but lets just say I was in a situation of mental clarity. It was like I was figuring out a problem in my mind that was all the sudden clear. I can remember thinking that me seeing him on the wall was a very clear picture to me on how I treat Race Directing.
We had the opportunity to head to Flagstaff and I was working for Ultrasportslive.tv and we covered the Flagstaff Sky Race. It was also my first time being the “on air talent:”.. I relished the opportunity to interview the athletes, the race directors and runners. I love trail racing and I really like having fun with people while we talk about this great sport we participate in. Rachel and I both had the opportunity the next day to race. Rachel did her first trail 5k and I did the Vertical K (of death).. We enjoyed the races and really enjoyed flagstaff. While in flagstaff though we were able to spend time with Josh Pauley and his wife Mary. They invited us over to eat and it was such a kind gesture as we were in town. Josh and I have been friends since he started running back in February around Houston and I have always been a fan of him and his running. We also had a great chance to hang out with much of the USL.tv crew it is always such a pleasure to be in the company of awesome people that you work with.
As we booked out of Flagstaff we got in a late run Sunday evening on the 39k course. We let the dogs off the leash and really relished the opportunity to get back on the mountain a bit more. We long hauled it to Colorado. We spend the next few days loving on the Poole’s. We had not seen them since they moved 5 months back and just being in their home was such a wonderful place. We of course got to see Evan Kees Poole who is our God Son and he was growing up so big.. It was the best 4 days as we literally just hung out and shared the love of the Poole Household.
As fast as we came we shipped back out. The final stop on the adventure road tour was something special. Dave James and I developed a friendship after Rocky Raccoon this year and for some reason I really liked Dave. He came to Brazos Bend 50 and really helped us out and he told me about the Old Glory Coast to Coast back then. As soon as he told me we picked a day in Kansas to get up there and do our part.
I was so elated to see Dave James, Amy and MIKE MORTON that morning… I knew we were short handed but when you have these great runners than your ahead of the ball. It was so amazing to just run down this flat highway, carrying Old Glory and running. The people honking, cheering and giving you the thumbs up… I felt very American that day. I am not a veteran but I was so very proud to be rocking the eagle and running with the flag. It was really special to Rachel and I to get presented a flag afterwards from Dave. We are looking forward to flying it at the Brazos Bend 100..
As we came home life is on warp speed. We arrived back home on a monday and by thursday I was back out the door to Ragnar in the hill country.
As I got there I tried to remained open to the experience of the event. I am always business minded and had a lot on my mind heading up there. But once there I took my post as tractor driver all of thursday night and friday morning. I had a good time being sarcastic, cracking jokes and meeting people. I love messing with people and giving them a hard time along the way.
But I was given a gift at Ragnar. I was given the gift of experience. For some reason weeks leading up to the event I kept telling people I didnt want to run. I dont know how many times on facebook I had written i was open to running and deleting it. But something told me that I need to just sit back and help. To be a servant in this situation. I had some of the best conversations with strangers, friends and new runners that I have ever had at an event.
I took every opportunity to just talk to people about running, race directing and travels. Spending time with my own team the HATR GATORS was so refreshing to me. You have to realize at some point that the conversations you have with people are so meaningful if you are listening. As I listened, volunteered and coached our team I realized that this was why I didnt ever run. The experience for me of just watching, listening and loving was exactly what I needed.
I left Ragnar and made a pit stop at my moms house. I was really happy just to see my moms and hang out for a bit. I always enjoy just the great conversations I have with such wonderful, talented and smart women. I am blessed to have such a supportive family with my moms.
I had committed myself to volunteering for the Run the Hill Country Marathon with Brad and Josue. I didnt sleep that night at my moms as I was trying to play catch up on race stuff. I crept out of the house at around 3am and headed to marble falls. As Brad and Josue showed up I found myself in the parking lot setting my alarm every 15 min as I kept dosing off. I ended up waking up and getting my assignment to head to an aid station. Got my swag, some breakfast and off I went.
Upon arriving at the aid station I found a joyous group that immediately started telling jokes and laughing. We had such a fun group and I really enjoyed watching the runners and meeting all of the folks at the aid station that day. I cut out a bit early but honestly i was asleep on my feet.
The clock said 3 hours to the door of my house but with my 6 stops for napping, waking up or just resting it would take longer than expected. I was pretty worn out from the 4 days of just grinding it out.
As the fog cleared Monday morning I was back on the grind. I drove 2 hours to Beaumont to meet with the Golden Triangle Strutters and run with them. What a fantastic group of runners they have and I was delighted to give away an entry and meet their group. I headed home about 7:30 getting home around 9:30…
Its been a crazy few days but worth every second to me. I have MADE the opportunities to experience some really amazing people lately. I find myself really yearning to hear peoples story, to share mine and connect through our travels.
As I write this its 1:15am and I probably have the craziest schedule for the next 4 weeks. My beautiful bride this morning told me she was concerned for my health as I have been going on little to no sleep and grinding for weeks. I love that she cares about me in that way but I have always been this way. I dont believe in fate as life has show me the only way to be successful is to earn it all.
As I grow as a person and as a race director i see that experience is the most valuable gift than I can receive. From the small conversations, to large group talks to a random text from a stranger.
Experience is wisdom and I happy to be recipient of the gift.