This week at one of the TransRockies nightly ceremonies, Cynthia from Gore-Tex told a story about meeting a mother and daughter hiking in Beaver Creek this time last year. The duo told her that after seeing the finish line at the TransRockies Run, they were going to add it to their bucket list and do the race someday. Cynthia’s response? “Bucket list? You’re going to be dead by then- do it now!”. The mother and daughter took her advice and signed up to come back this year and run the race at their next opportunity.
That “bucket list” part of Cynthia’s story was easy for me to relate to. As a runner, I’ve had a list of races and places I want to run accumulating for a few years. It’s always evolving, but mostly just getting longer and longer. Most of my running friends are the same way- lists of their own of cities and trails to see on foot before we hang up our laces.
The “bucket list” is a double edged sword. It’s amazing to write your goals and dreams down, but it’s a little too easy to just keep saying “someday”, “next year”, “once I’ve_____”. I like to think I’m pretty good at exploring and accomplishing my goals, but when I looked back at my list today, I realized that I haven’t done as much damage as I’d thought.
Similar to the mother/daughter pair in Cynthia’s story, I knew I wanted to SOMEDAY do the Gore-Tex TransRockies. Before I die, all of my toes fall off, I start a family, I’m in a wheelchair… All distant deadlines. I was chock-full of reasons NOT to run this year- “I’ve already run a few ultras, my legs are probably tired”, “I don’t live at altitude, will I survive?”, “I don’t have a partner to run with”, “can I take the time off of work”?
My better judgment told me to wait a couple years to figure out the details, but that didn’t stop me from pulling the trigger and signing up anyway. I’m a planner like 99% of the other athletes I know, but over the last year I’ve realized that sometimes it’s best to make decisions based on what the heart wants and figure out how to make it work afterward rather than spend too much time worrying planning and details. It’s never really ideal to take a week off of work, add more training hours to a hectic schedule, or try to adjust expenses to afford a little bit of travel, but eventually we just make it work because we know the payoff is worth it.
Now, I’m not suggesting anyone sign up for a marathon this weekend, halfway around the world, and go run it, untrained. But if you’re healthy and fit (or working towards it) , what’s holding you back from making that big, scary dream a reality? If it’s just a few details, maybe it’s worth converting your bucket list into a TO-DO list instead. Dust off your list and pick a few to tackle in the next year.
I’m not bold enough to post my “to-do list” on the internet, but I can say it includes races, cities, trails and roads in Europe (Jungfrau, Mont Blanc), South America , Africa (Comrades), and in the US (Moab, Western States)… It’s long, and sure to keep growing, but after an incredible 6 days and 120 miles of mountain climbing at TransRockies, I’m more confident that I’ll be slowly checking more of these off in my future.
More on TransRockies tomorrow or the next day, I’m still in a happy daze and trying to snap out of “summer camp” mode. Do any of you have bucket lists? I’d love to know what’s on your lists, maybe it’ll give me some ideas to add to my own.