I’m sure some of you have seen those mugs that say, “Let the Adventure Begin.” People give them to high school and college graduates. They give them to couples on their wedding. And sometimes they just give them to outdoorsy people. But it can be a thought provoking sentence. When I talk to a person getting into running for the first time I wonder about that phrase.
When I started running I had no idea it would lead to anything other than me being more like Hulk Hogan… which was very important to me at the time. I didn’t think, “exercise is a form of adventure,” or even “movement is the start of adventure.” Turns out it was.
Adventures in fictional stories are a lot like adventures in real life. They involve adversity, surprise, and the unknown. It hardly can be called an adventure if you are not afraid at some point in the story (in fiction or in real life). If you are certain of the outcome it definitely is not an adventure. If there is no risk no one would call that an adventure either. And I think when we think on adventure we really want to hear, see, and experience the overcoming of these dangers and uncertainties.
At various times my own running has involved, bears, moose, rattle snakes, gun-fire, 10 foot falls, knee-deep mud with no shoes, being lost in the woods and mountains (and I mean really truly lost), the howling of wolves, avalanches, rock fall, and of course serious injuries. While many of you may not have these sorts of stories to tell in relation to your running I do not think these more obvious elements are necessary at all for your running to be the start of an adventure.
I honestly do think that when a person who has never run a 5k (whether in a race or not) decides that they are going to embark on a journey to try and reach that goal… I think that person really is beginning an adventure. They don’t always really know in any meaningful way if they will be able to do it. They are often uncertain as to how to even begin. They may be afraid of failing or how they will look in the eyes of other people (even, sometimes afraid of how they will look to their own friends). They often have a real sense of risk. If this all doesn’t add up to the start of an adventure I honestly don’t know what would.
Some of us are not (and maybe never have been) in this space (or for us to get to that space we would have to decide we are going to run a hundred miles instead of a 5K). But I know that many of you reading this either are in that space or know someone who is. What I want to tell you is that you need to be kind to yourself and others… and maybe (just maybe) it is time for the adventure to begin.