Monday, December 7, 2009

This Thing Called Trail Running

It's hard. Its really really hard when you're the slowest runner in the group. But in spite of that, some of the nicest, kindest people are trail runners. A week ago Saturday, I jumped back in to trails (after a brief spell in July & August). I showed up at the Boston Store and in the strangest game of Red Rover, a handful of girls and guys warmly welcomed me into their Saturday morning group. I'm sure it was because they felt sorry for me in my mismatched running clothes and that lost-oh-my-gosh-am-I-really-doing-this look. I gave full disclosure upfront that I'm slow. No one was deterred and instead told me no problem, that there would be someone to run with me. And there was. John. An ultrarunner who basically gave up his morning to be my escort on a 9-10 mile run. I couldn't thank him enough. He not only kept me company, but he never once made me feel like I was holding him back. The ladies in the group were so welcoming making sure to check in with me when I finished and everyone even asked me back and offered to include me on their email/run list. I loved it. So I went back for more.

More was two days ago on the Run for Regis familiarization run. I'm on the waiting list, but on the off-chance I actually make the cut, then I should know the trail AND know what I'm getting into. The morning was cold as crap - 29F and a crisp chill. I was really cursing myself for not bringing my gator. We started off getting directions from Tanya. As a relative newcomer, to me every turn by turn direction sounded like Charlie Brown's teacher. But no worries. I had a guardian trail runner or two who would run back and make sure I was still propelling forward. We ran Happy Days, went through a tunnel, across a field, completed Boston Run Trail, them traced our steps back to Ledges Shelter to complete a 5-mile loop. From the shelter we headed left to the Pine Grove Connector, down a hill that I feared I would have to climb on the way back (yep, I did), around Kendall Lake, and then Salt Run. This 8-mile loop nearly turned me into a whiny baby. However, everyone was so nice to me, offering oodles of motivating phrases, that I had to pull my act together! This loop was tough...and I remembered parts of Salt Run from the Muddy Paws race. Hell, Salt Run even had my lab's legs shaking! My "Salt Run tour guide" was such a wonderful female runner that I simply cannot thank her enough!

I hope I make the race list because this is a really great group of people to spend a Saturday or Sunday with. Fingers crossed!

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