Guest Blog from Angela, a Running with the Bears Participant: Why You Should Run a Destination Race like Running with the Bears~
When I first started running, I kept a list of dates and times when people would tell me the joke: “I only run when I’m being chased.” Even people who enjoy other types of exercise thought I was absolutely nuts to run. The universal question I always got asked was: “Why do you do it?”
I get it. Running is painful and challenging. But for me, I ran for the sole purpose of meditation. It quiets my mind, and I am grateful for it in a world of chaos.
Every runner has a different reason. Some people enjoy a challenge, others just want a medal. Some do it for health–I KNOW! Crazy, right?–reasons, or as an excuse to be able to eat a ridiculous amount of calories.
Whatever your reason may be, it’s certainly enough to keep you chasing after that sweet runner’s high. There’s nothing quite like crossing the finish line after agonizing for miles why you decided to torture your body. You have accomplished your goal, and your body rewards you with endorphins. But we know that we don’t always get the high–which is why you should run a destination race.
You’re asking: “Why should I shell out hundreds of dollars for travel, accommodation, and food expenses just to get a runner’s high?” Aside from the obvious, running the same routes over and over you’ll risk burnout. Destination races are a good excuse to discover a new place, gorge on the food, and subsequently, run it off. It’s a gathering of kindred spirits who share a silent solidarity in one goal: crossing that finish line. And that runner’s high. My experience is the more people around you who are sharing that same euphoria, that euphoria will last longer.
Other hobbyists do the same thing, and share the same excitement over whatever it is they came together to celebrate. They usually call it a convention, but it is my own personal opinion that it’s much cooler to say: “I’m in town for a race,” rather than “I’m here for a convention.” But then again, I’m guilty of visiting cities for conventions. I just feel more hard-core if I say the former rather than the latter.
Make it a reason to see the world! If you’re a down-home good-ol’-guy or gal–maybe a wilderness-wanderer type–you’ve got smaller races like Running With the Bears which is in Greenville, California. Best part? The Bears race is Mountain Circle’s (a foster and adoption agency) annual fundraiser, which raises funds for foster care children and youth served by Mountain Circle Family Services.
Nestled in Plumas County in the Sierra Nevadas, this is a race for which you can literally camp the night before. Don’t be fooled by the word “small;” this bad boy is a Boston Qualifier. Qualifier? If you’re new to running, I may have forgotten to mention that you have to qualify for some of the big city races. If you’re a runner wanting to qualify for Boston, well I’m your new best friend. This race is in a breathtaking location, and they will treat you like queens and kings.
My trail running partner is a year-old German Shepherd and when she joins me, she’ll even get her own medal. Don’t bother paying exorbitant fees for other qualifiers–this is an entire experience not worth missing. Hint: cold beer, massage, and party.
I read somewhere, sometime, that a person shouldn’t live the same year 75 times and call that a life. I agree. Life is dreadfully tedious and destination races are a good way to intertwine vacation with a healthy lifestyle.