On Saturday I participated in a trail running event organized by Joe and Joyce Prusaitis of Tejas Trails here in Texas. I chose this event specifically because I had been told that it was a great course and the name of the event made the course sound harder than it actually is. I thought it would be a great way to complete another 50K distance so I signed up and felt pretty good about completing the distance since I recently shaved some time off a road marathon. I knew it would be a fabulous event no matter what because I had the best company a girl could have and the race director is a stickler for the details which means his events are always spot on. No camping out this time around though and I packed my bag for any eventuality.
You see, here in Central Texas, during the Spring months, one never quite knows what the weather will bring. It can be 80 degrees today and low 30’s tomorrow….sometimes the extremes can happen all in one day! I had capris, shorts, short sleeved shirt and a jacket, plus a hat, mittens, calf sleeves, extra socks….you get the idea. I wanted to make sure that if mother nature turned against me, I would be READY. NOTHING was going to keep me from finishing this run!! My plans for Friday went off without a hitch and before I knew it – it was 4:00 a.m Saturday morning and it was time to get the ball rolling for a 6:00 a.m race start.
Allow me, if you will, to digress a bit as I am often prone to doing…..This event came a 3 days after a terrible tragedy struck our military community and rocked us emotionally. Men died during acts of valor. They gave their lives to prevent further harm from coming to those around them in one place where they should not fear for their own safety. Even today, as I sit and type this, it saddens me and brings tears to my eyes to think about these men. I did not know them personally although my husband did. Memorial walks were had and lots of discussions partaken about this single act of desperation on the part of the man who created the crisis…..
A crisis of conscious and a feeling of desperation can be had by anyone and I’m sure that most of us have had moments when we did not feel 100%. My question is, what then? What do we do with these feelings? How do we handle these momentary upsets in our lives? It was heartbreaking for everyone with the ripples evolving out from the epicenter in a greatly expanding circle of impact. Experiences in life have taught me to persevere…..move forward even if slowly and often painfully….just – keep – FIGHTING and do not dare give up.
Therefore, when I lined up with the other 100+ runners for the 50K run on Saturday, it was with these thoughts in my head. I will run light and easy (per Christopher McDougall in Born to Run), I will take my time and run my race……and I will just keep putting one foot in front of the other until I reach my destination – that being the finish line. I will continue to move forward, even when it hurts, because that is what we do. The start was in the dark of course since the sun is not even awake at 6 a.m but there were plenty of headlamps to see where we were going so off we went into the dark morning. The pace was quite slow to start and I was shocked by the ease.
There was chatter going on all around me and when I dared to look ahead into the forest of trees, it looked like there was a bejeweled snake all aglitter winding its way through the trees. The lights with all their various hues and brightness provided quite an illusion of movement within the movement. It was beautiful unto itself! Another runner behind me began chatting me up at some point in the dark of the morning. He had noticed my careful footfall….and likened my landings amongst the rocks to a dancer, perhaps ballet because I was intentionally trying to stay up on the balls of my feet, light in my socks. It made me chuckle to think of myself on a barre like a ballet dancer though!!
The first 15.5 mile loop felt almost completely effortless, almost. I do not remember the exact mileage of the tripping windmill action I was party to only that it resulted in the pulling of a muscle in my leg that appears prone to such things. ARGH! Seriously? I was miffed to say the least but thankful that I did not fall. Right around mile 9 we came out of the trees and into this clearing…..ohhhh this clearing was absolutely FULL of spring flowers – Bluebonnets to be specific. It was a sea of blue flowers in this clearing and it made me remember that this is FUN. I LOVE TO RUN! I stopped and took a couple pictures and moved on out – newly energized by the beauty of it all. Down at mile 10 was an aid station with some smiling people ensconced there, including my most awesome friend who kindly took my jacket off my hands.
From that point to the turn around point back at the start/finish line it was kind of a blur. I was just in a zone I suppose and do not recall much about it – except for the photographer sitting in wait at the top of a particularly gnarly uphill section. I laughed at him for taking such a spot!
Are you wondering yet….wondering where is the lesson in all this? It’s coming – be patient….ahhhh, be patient….something is happening. You cannot yet see it, or feel it buried within the details but it is there, growing steadily in its own right……to be continued