Wandering Amylessly: Into my next personal challenge

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By Amy Larsen
Wyo4News feature writer

One of the most common questions I get asked is, “Amy, what is your next adventure?” Most of the time, I have an answer, as it always seems I have a trip, an adventure, or something on my calendar to look forward to. I try to maximize life, and it helps that life has often given me great opportunities to succeed at this. I am actually writing this from a work trip in Lake Tahoe and starting to work on a super quick trip out to Rochester, NY, next month, providing me with the opportunity to finally get to see Niagara Falls with a quick stop to take in the stadium where #17 (former UW quarterback Josh Allen) plays in the fall.

I know I am fortunate and blessed to live the life I do and pray daily to never take it for granted. My life truly is good. But it also gives me incredible joy to share my wanderings with all of you and the life lessons I pick up along the way.

In the past few months, I have celebrated the start of a new decade for many of my friends from life. I am not sure how we all got here as it doesn’t seem that long ago we were cruising down Dewar Drive, and now we are cruising into our 50s. I have seen some creative parties and even participated with one of my friends who is making the most of each month to celebrate turning 50. This has led to a second question I get asked a lot, “What are you doing for your 50th?”.

Let’s be honest, I am not ready to reach that milestone yet, but I am sure I will make it a memory when I get there! This question and a little Facebook post got me thinking about why I had to wait until 50 to celebrate. Why can’t I celebrate on my way to 50? The wheels in my head started turning, and a new challenge emerged.

Let’s start with the Facebook post. I looked through the posted stories, and Ten Sleep Brewing Company shared a post about an upcoming 5K. It piqued my interest as the brewery has great beer and is surrounded by gorgeous scenery. Besides, it would be fun to go up to the little town of Ten Sleep for a 5K!

I texted a friend up there and asked about the 5K, and they also filled me in on other things happening that weekend. So, I now have that on my calendar. Let’s be real, though; I haven’t trained for a 5K in years nor prepared for anything active in over a year, so a training schedule also got on my calendar. I have so far made it exactly two weeks into training!

Photo submitted by Amy Larsen

I kept thinking through this a bit more, and suddenly, an idea popped into my head. What if I looked at doing 5K’s in other locations around the state? Before I knew it, a challenge had emerged, and after running it by a few friends, the challenge had been solidified. Over the next 18 months, which is how long I have before I turn 50, I will do an equivalent of a 5K in every county in the state, along with Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Devils Tower, and Fossil Butte.

If you are doing the math, that is 27- 5K’s or about 87 miles. I can assure you I am not going to be participating in organized 5 Ks everywhere; I don’t like running/walking that much! Instead, I have permitted myself to hike, bike, paddle, snowshoe, etc. The one condition is that it must be Amy powered and on a trail or waterway I haven’t been along before.

I honestly have nothing to prove with this challenge. I will not receive a great medal or an award at the end, so why do it? That is a question I have asked myself a bunch, including why I even write about it. However, the more I have shared this idea with others, the more the unintended point of this challenge has emerged. Sure, it is an opportunity for me to get out and be active, but more than that, it is becoming an opportunity for me to experience some lesser-known parts of Wyoming, the parts that are near and dear to people that have helped me well become me.

It also is creating the opportunity to experience new places with old friends while making new memories. It is pretty humbling to do this, as these are the people I have interacted with at many ages and stages of life. And now, I will spend time with them on an actual journey. Again, this wasn’t the initial intent, it was honestly something just to get me back in shape, but after talking with a friend of mine about my idea and listening to him spout off a whole list of ideas in his area, it truly has made this a challenge about seeing where I have been and blazing new trails forward. But, ultimately, it’s about me being me.

I look forward to sharing these trails and tales with all of you, both through this column and anytime anyone wants to join. I am unsure how the schedule will look or how I will let people know when/where my next wanderings will be, but I’ll get it out there. I honestly am excited to see how these next 18 months come together and the incredible places and faces I will get to see.