First to 500

Almost three weeks ago I woke up very early, 4 a.m. in fact to arrive at the staging area for Dirty Feat, Lansing’s very own adventure race. I had been asked by one of the coordinators to come in and photograph the eight hour event. There I stood among 174 participants each decked out in sporty outfits, bike helmets, head lamps, little biking packs and their sturdy bikes. Within an hour all had been checked in and were anxiously waiting to receive their maps to start their adventure. Yes, that’s right, this group of 87 pairs paid $60 each to participate in a race that started at 6 a.m. and they had no clue where they were going! As the buzzer sounded and all the teams took off running to their first two check in spots, Jeff Smith, one of the coordinators, looked at me with a smile and told me how much work went into this event, including a no sleep night before prep, and how anti climatic the start was. We both watched lines of Dirty Featers running around out on the streets in front of us. I said yes that might be true but you were able to get 174 people to pay to show up on a Saturday morning and bike, run and canoe for the next 8 hours. His smile back to me was priceless. He did do that, with some help of course, and he knew he did that.

Maybe it’s the ease of connectivity through resources like Facebook, Twitter and websites that make putting together events much, much easier. Essentially you can have a really great idea and share it with your “friends” to get needed support, attendees and any other essential needs. Basically City Saunter was exactly that. I had an idea and I saw a need. I created graphics and content and put it all out there for others to cheer me on. However there is one more step that needs to take effect and that’s the active part of the idea. It’s one thing to get people to say, wow that’s a great idea, but to take it to the action stage is another thing. It takes a lot of effort to make it worth the time for someone to read your blog or look at your photos or participate in an event. Recently a friend of mine, Justin Caine of Good Fruit and one of the participants of Dirty Feat started one of these “completely made up, but because you posted it to Facebook and people are getting involved it’s now real”, events. He is calling it First to 500. I saw it on my feed a couple of weeks ago and was definitely interested. I pulled up the event page and read the details. In essence all those that wish to participate will start keeping track of all of their exercise from July 1 to September 30, 2012 and the person that reaches 500 points first wins. The points are given out for the different types of exercise you do; e.g. swimming a mile is 8 points, walking/running a mile is 2 points, biking a mile is 1 point and workout tapes or weight lifting for an hour is 2 points. He even has a friend who is volunteering to keep track of all our points as we earn them. At this point there are 37 people actively working out to earn points for a competition that wasn’t in existence three weeks ago. Now I’m the type of person that doesn’t shy away from working out, which is obvious since I’ve taken it upon myself with my own project to walk all 400 miles of streets in Lansing, Michigan to help promote and improve the area. However I was surprised at how much this competition just plugged right into my desire for a challenge. I’ve never felt the urge to compete this much, ever. Maybe it’s hanging out with all these adventure racers. Maybe it’s watching people, like Justin who suffered an incredible set back at such a young age as he gets back up over and over and pushes himself to new levels. Not only does he push himself but he encourages the rest of us to join him. I find that to be an incredible motivator.

My Route Today
Biking in
Walking Lansing
Biking Home

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