May 8 thru 14th was a grand adventure! Just what the doctor ordered. A spirit refill of wild leaps down the path of my New Year’s resolution to “choose adventure.” This quest to fill my adventure deficit actually started in December when I wrote down “choose adventure” as one of my five New Year’s resolutions. Once in ink and consciously committed to taking on more adventures this year, my mind shifted open to begin seeking out opportunities. I was on the prowl for things that would flex my adventurous muscles that had sadly atrophied over prior year.
Not only with my fitness training and racing, but in my work life as well, I wanted to seek this adventure shift. Intentionally then, one of the business people I reached out to was a fellow female adventure race director, unknown to me but deeply respected, Maria Burton of Primal Quest. In fact, I regularly connect to other women endurance sport race directors and over a year ago founded WCRED – the Women’s Collaboration of Race & Event Directors. We share best practices as well as friendship in a very male centered industry. I had heard Maria’s story on a podcast and chased her down to simply give her kudos on bringing back such an iconic world class race, as well as invite her to join the WCRED sisterhood.
Maria and I became fast friends. We are like minded, powered by the sun, adventure seeking women of leadership using endurance sports to change lives. Surprisingly we also happen to be the same exact age and share the love of both coffee and daily mega doses of humor.
Fast forward – just a week after our SLO Marathon & Half race production – to 8am on May 8th and find me in my car driving 4 hours to Northern California. There I jump on a plane with my 40lb duffel on my back full of outdoor adventure gear and food. Maria is waiting for me in Vancouver where we will meet face to face for the first time, after months of calls and emails. She bravely has hired me to join her Primal Quest Expedition Adventure Race production team and our week ahead together is jam packed with team meetings, scouting and logistical planning in British Columbia. Right up the adventure alley!
At 2pm that day I board the Delta Airlines plane to Seattle. At 5pm I attempt to board my next flight to Vancouver – only to find my passport has gone missing. #WTF! I’m on the floor with my backpack contents strewn all over like a 5-year-old kid with their LEGOs. The Delta rep talks me off the ledge as I see my plane pull out of the gate without me. Four more-than-gracious Delta reps, six phone calls, and two hours later I am back on a plane but instead headed backwards to San Jose to retrace my steps. Sure enough I hug the TSA employee as she hands me back my identity that had apparently just been sitting on the put-back-on-your-shoes bench all morning. I guess no one wanted to be me for the day?
Now 9:45pm, I go back to the Delta counter where Hung greets me with a huge smile. They close in 15 minutes! He has to locate, then bring me my bag, get approval from his manager to NOT charge me for a completely new ticket, rebook me on the next flight out in the morning and most importantly not make me feel like an idiot. He and his Delta teammates do all that and more. Of course I invited them all to @raceslo where they will be our guests and run the SLO Ultra this September! #customerservicerewards
At 11:15pm, exhausted and lugging my beastly duffel around, I board the airport shuttle back to my car (aka 4-wheel hotel for the night) and set my alarm for 4:30am. Wild hair pajama party look, I catch my 6am do-over flight up to Canada. San Jose, Seattle to Vancouver with golden passport in hand. Across the finish line of leg one after 4 planes, 4 car-shuttle rides, half a dozen new friends made and 28 adventurous hours later, I am face to face with #LadyBoss Maria. I hit transition smiling and changed up for the second part of the expedition.
The next six epic days we were on our own private adventure race, both working and laughing our asses off. Covering hundreds of miles by car, boat, foot, rope and bikes. Logging countless hours on the laptop, phone and in strategy meetings with our Primal Quest production team mates. Consuming massive amounts of caffeine and snacks. With ‘No time to explain…..get in the van!’ Then on the 7th day together we sat in peaceful satisfaction, hot coffees in hand and hit the record button. Finally, our chance to share Maria’s personal story on our new Endurance Town USA podcast, the Faces Behind the Races miniseries. This @raceslo podcast passion project finally allows me to truthfully tell the beautiful stories of my fellow race directors around the globe. Humans who I have not only come to respect but deeply cherish. Not unlike my prior ETUSA podcast interviews, we spend the next 75 minutes peeling back the layers and exploring her WHY behind living the race director’s path. It was the perfect final leg of our week long race together. We laugh, we cry and we dig deep into the earth of truth.
I type this now as I’m being hurled back home through space, peering down on the clouds and North American landscape below. Me towards California and Maria on her ride over Canada. Oddly enough I am not tired nor overwhelmed from the months worth of information, experience and work we distilled into a week. I am instead only wiser, stronger and hungrier for more adventure. I close my eyes and welcome day dreams full of more human connections and adventures ahead. Knowing that like everything else in life, it all begins with one conscious choice.
Samantha Pruitt, Race SLO Founder & CEO