I did two incredibly fun runs this weekend. The first was the Dirt Trails & Pony Tails 5K in Austin. The second was a nearly 6-mile run with a friend in Ames, Iowa. Both runs affirmed for me how much I enjoy running these days.
The 5K is part of a series of women’s trail races put on by Trailhead Running. I did the series last year and enjoyed them, so I signed up to do them again this year. This course had some rough ups and downs, so I definitely allowed myself to walk at times, but I tried to run as much as I possibly could. That’s how I gauge my improvement trail running. Am I getting more comfortable on trails in general? I think I am. That improvement is fun for me to see.
It was also fun because I got to see my friend Fred, who happened to be biking by and stopped in to say hello. I also got to see my friend Leary out on course, as he regularly volunteers for these events. This is a photo of me with Leary that I stopped to take during the race.
He’s a sweet guy and his wife, Susan, is the reason why I started trail running. She’s encouraging and a huge advocate for beginning trail runners. I needed someone like her to help me get over my fear of trail running. Yes, it requires more thought than regular running. Yes, there is a real likelihood of falling at some point. But it’s a great deal of fun.
On this course, I chuckled a good bit at the signs. This was perhaps my favorite:
After the race, I flew to Iowa to visit some friends. On Sunday, one of them took me out for a nighttime run. It was cold there, probably in the 40s, which felt perfect for a bundled run. I loved running with my friend. I loved running in the cold. I loved running at night. I loved getting home, taking a hot shower, putting on pajamas and enjoying a wonderful home-cooked dinner that included chocolate for dessert – a treat I felt I’d more than earned with a solid run. It was a perfect way to spend the evening.
I’m thankful that running is now something I enjoy, rather than something I think I should do. I’m thankful that I look forward to my runs, rather than dread them. And I’m thankful for the people I get to run with these days, both at home and elsewhere.