David: I would like to welcome Matthew Crownover, our newest contributor on Endurance Buzz! Matt can be seen pushing the pace at the front of the race or enjoying a good conversation with the tribe towards the back. Matt has a wide range of trail/ultra running and general life experiences that will translate to writings of insight, entertainment, and even opportunities to reflect.
Matt recently ran a spicy 3:16 at the Grasslands trail marathon and was kind in sharing his adventure with us.
I also want to offer a special thanks to Matt’s eight year old son (and trail runner), Micah, who took the video footage at the finish while I was scrambling to park the car.
I entered the race with that excitement born of poor planning and lack of impulse control— so when I heard about a couple of young fast guys who’d be pushing the pace, I decided to throw caution to the wind, and try to hang with them. I essentially showed up at Grasslands with simply a willingness to push hard, to let these young guys set the pace, but honestly having no hard evidence as to what on earth will happen. I knew they were stronger and faster than me, but I figured I was experienced enough to pull out of a nosedive before the crash was too fatal. And besides, if I was wrong, and did crash, well I figured I was mature and grounded to handle going down in a big blaze of incompetence and unrealistic expectations. The stage was set!
Getting to the start line with a family is a race unto itself. I will spare you those details, but what I loose in sleep and preparation, I more than gain in joy and laughter—and also God’s providential way of inviting me to deepen my practice of patience.
After 24 years of racing, you’d think I’d seen it all. But then again, the sense that there is always something new to learn is part of what keeps me in love with the sport. This year’s race was one of the most dramatic “races” I’ve been a part of in years. Part of that is what was happening outside: with the trail and between us runners. Part of it was happening in my head and heart. For me, it’s often a tossup which is more consequential.
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