In the rain, Dave and I drove up to Russell Park on Lake Georgetown for the Bruises and Bandages trail race with Trailhead Running. Since 2012, I’ve spent my falls trail running, but this last fall, I was super busy at work and couldn’t make Tuesday night runs work, so I’ve been off the trails for a while. I did the first race of my favorite trail series in November, but I hadn’t been running regularly – or at all, really – on trails. The November course was particularly challenging, so I struggled. Today, the course was more doable. It felt great to be out on the trails again.
Not realizing it was in the 40s, I wore shorts. Thankfully, I had multiple layers up top, so I froze a little standing around, but felt great once we got going. The race course starts with a single-track mile of rocky ground. It was muddy today. I took the first mile slowly, my only goal being to remain upright. But once we got through the treacherous part and hit the lake, I got to run on a beautiful, wide open trail out to the turnaround point and back, easily a couple of miles each way. And I felt like I ran pretty well.
Although I haven’t been running on the trails, I felt fairly sure-footed most of the way once I got beyond the rocky section. I felt strong. I’m in pretty good shape, as I’ve been doing triathlon training and preparing for a half marathon next week. And the lake part of the race allowed for fairly mindless running, so I pushed myself harder than usual. For a while, I chatted with the woman behind me, but after she fell back, I just ran. I’m fairly confident in saying that I smiled most, if not all, of the course.
I loved the weather, the event, the company, and the hour-long drive this morning with Dave. He came out to spectate and hang out so we could meet one of my Kilimanjaro friends for lunch afterwards. It was fun to have him cheering and to see him connecting with others who were there to spectate. He even ran into a guy he’d crossed paths with in Iowa years and years ago. The world can be crazy small sometimes.
It’s good to get out on the trails. I’ve missed them.
It’s good to go to a park and away from traffic and the bustle of city life. It’s good to be out with friends who share a love for trail running. It’s good to focus on the path at my feet and to embrace the occasional slippage or uncertainty of the mud. It’s good to run with joy and come to a finish line full of people who make me smile.
When I missed all of the fall season with my trail running group, I made the decision to rejoin my group in January. I usually don’t run in the spring because I fear injury that might affect my triathlon season. But this year, I’m not afraid of injury. Not right now, anyway. It’s more important to me to rejoin my people and venture onto the trails on Tuesday nights than it is to play it safe for my September race. So a couple of days ago, I signed up to rejoin my Tuesday night group with Trailhead Running.
Trail running. Trailhead Running. I’ve missed you. I’m so happy to be back.