I drove down to Huntsville State Park today (Saturday, 2021.02.06) to volunteer for the Rocky Raccoon 100 with NTTR at the Damnation aid station. The photo is from nine years ago, the last time I was there, and the morning of my first 50 mile race.

Nine years ago was a slugfest of a day – the first two of three 17 mile loops went ridiculously well for me. The third – oh man, I slowly, painfully victory lapped it into one of the last 50 mile finisher spots of the race. 252nd. 17:31:18.

And it was fucking awesome!!

The sky opened up that morning to a torrential downpour right before the 100 mile race start. By the time I started the course, some 10-15 minutes after the official start, the course was already a muddy, shoe-sucking mess. But starting late allowed me to get into a peaceful groove alone in the early morning. Nice.

The guys I was staying with were super fast, Robert Smith and Gerardo Moreno. Robert dropped after the second loop after suffering from an ankle injury early in the race. Gerardo won it with a 6:15:12 finish, still one of the top performances for the 50 mile race on UltraSignup.

But today! Today was about volunteering, helping my fellow runners get to the finish line themselves. I filled water bottle after water bottle, dancing in the middle of the cold, cold night between runners coming through. I did my best to send positive vibes their way, because damn some of them surely needed it! And after a long night of volunteering I busted out, playfully with:

Why do we do this? Why do we put ourselves through this ridiculous mess? The volunteering or the running? Oh, the running! THIS, the volunteering makes massive sense. But the running, have you figured it out yet? Why? Why not??

And yeah, the answer is so obviously “why not?” And with a dash of, “because it’s fun, isn’t it?”

Sometimes things just aren’t worth figuring out. If it feels right, do it. Go play. Simply because it’s fun, isn’t it?