I signed up to do a local trail run for a charity event with my sister and a friend Tracy on Sunday – we woke up and arrived early to register the day of the event and I knew the parking lot was small so I wanted to make sure we got a decent spot. The run was going to be a 10k – what I didn’t know was that the route would take us up every single steep incline that was in the forest.
The race began promptly at 8:30 and used an age graded start which was a new concept to me – this meant that the older you were the more of a head start you got so the 70+ age group started first (and yes there were several male and female competitors in this age group – and they looked awesome for their age!) followed by 65-69 year age group 5 minutes later and so on. This was sort of cool because it really spaced everyone out so there was no one running right on my heels like the last trail run I was in. I was a bit worried about this because my sister was in the age bracket below mine, but we found out she would only be starting a minute after me so I knew she would catch up. There were not very many runners doing this race and they all looked hardcore so I knew I would be dead last – especially since I was one of the last waves to start.
I chatted with the other girls in my wave a bit and then we were off – I fell behind pretty quickly but I was happy because we were going down hill and then went over a flat section – I ran for about 5 minutes before I had to slow to a fast walk to catch my breath – and I figured my sister would be coming up soon. We followed the bright orange ribbons that were placed as our trail markers and soon came to the first steep incline. I told my sister I tried to hike up this with JoJo once before to see where it went and it seemed never ending so I actually ended up turning around and going back that day. There was no turning around now – I was gonna see where this trail took me no matter if I liked it or not. Up and up we went and my asthma quickly started acting up. My legs were burning and shaking also which didn’t help anything (was it due to the fact I hadn’t been running for like 3 weeks or because I rode my bike 20 miles the day before – probably both.) We kept going – people passing us the whole way. I told my sister to just go ahead but she stuck with me. As we got to the first water station we noticed there were people behind us who were pulling all the orange markers from the trees – oh my we were dead last- I told you everyone there was super hard core!
The run quickly turned into a hike – I still do not understand how people run over loose rocks so quickly! I was happy to just be outside in a beautiful area with my sister – even if it was a challenge. We noticed the one guy run ahead and started removing the mile marker signs and some of the direction arrows that were on the trees – this sort of made me upset because I really like to have mini victories in my head when I reach a mile point – LOL! We had no idea how far we were until we got to mile 4 which was the 2nd water station – from that point on the rest of the markers were in place. Maybe they had a reason they needed to remove the others so quickly?
Somewhere before the 2nd water stop we ended up passing an older gentleman who was telling us all about how he had bilateral hip replacements, 6 fused vertebrae, pins in his wrist, etc. My favorite part of our conversation was when he said “I SWORE I wasn’t gonna do this again, but here I am! No excuses!” He was adorable and my sister and I had the privilege of walking with him for a bit. We continued on because we knew the lady who was removing the ribbons would be right behind him if he ran into trouble.
One thing about hiking rather than running is that you can see things that others probably missed – like the little snake I spotted and had to pause to take a picture of (see above)!
When we finally got close to the end we could see the parking lot, but were we done? Oh no – we had to make another loop around and down, but it was through my favorite section of the forest that goes over wooden bridges with a stream running along that section of trail. Of course that meant we had to climb back up to the parking lot, which I thought was going to be on the road because I joked to a volunteer that my dog usually pulls me up the hill, but oh no – she pointed out the trail that was a short and very steep section to take us to the finish line – I thought she was joking, but she said just grab trees and whatever to help get you to the top. I said “Did people actually RUN up this?!?!” and she said “Not many, but yes a few did” wow. Tracy was at the top and snapped a pic of my sister and I as we made it up the final section of trail (THANKS TRACY!). I don’t know about my sister, but I crossed the finish line pretty spent.
We made our way over to the post race section, signed up for the raffle, grabbed a few post run snacks and decided to wait at the top of the last steep section so we could cheer for the older gentleman as he made his way up the trail. When we saw him coming we cheered and clapped with a few others that gathered. It was so great to see – you really can do anything if you put your mind to it! 🙂
They started announcing the raffle winners and Tracy won the grand prize – airplane tickets to anywhere Southwest flies – AWESOME! My sister also won a free oil change. Wahoo! I got nothing – except leg pain – LOL!
Now it’s been 3 days since the run and I am still a bit sore, but I was happy that it was another challenge completed!
HAPPY TRAILS!! 🙂