You would think that getting up at 5 a.m. each weekday would make me want to sleep until sun-up on the weekends. Well, I do want to. But these days it rarely happens. We’re too busy. Even if we aren’t participating in as many sporting events as we’d like, we’ve been trying to attend a few of the athletic events around our area to post on our (okay Joe’s) latest website venture, Arkansas Outside, a site for people who don’t sleep past dawn on weekends.
This past Saturday we were up, fueled, geared and scraping the frost off the windshield by 6:30 a.m. The original plan was to drive the 1 1/2 hours from Little Rock to Mt Nebo State Park for the 2nd annual Mt Nebo Bench Trail Run just to photostory it. While I thought about just tagging along with the photographer, I eventually decided that zero training, as far as running goes, didn’t mean I couldn’t just get on the trail and wing it. So I sent in my entry 2 days before the race.
I always preface stories like this with “well you know, I’m not a runner”. This one is no different. I like running. I enjoy being outside. I especially like running trail. But I have never worked very hard at trying to go fast. I have no sprint in me. My so called race pace tends to be about equal to what I do when I say I’m just out for a rare workout run. So when I arrived and realized that many of the 50 or so people there were what I’d call Real Runners, I had a moment of regret. But only a moment. It doesn’t matter if I’m DeadFLast. My version of success lies in the fact that I got my butt off the couch and went out to do something. I’ve never run a trail race before so this was a chance to try something new, another success. I ended up having a great time, even though I was about where I thought I’d be, running *10 minute miles. It seems that no matter the terrain, I run a fairly consistent 9:30-10 min mile though I prefer a course with a few hills like this trail. I finished the 4.2 miles in 39:59:41. At least I’m consistent. Each and every time I do something like this I realize at the end that I always finish with gas in the tank. I’ve never figured out how to leave it all out there. And maybe I don’t want to. Maybe that will kill some of the joy I feel as I just bound along, trying to take in my surroundings.
The race organizer for this event had a pretty cool idea: instead of finisher’s medals that most of us toss in a drawer or worse, he had Christmas ornaments made with the name of the race and the date. I thought this was a great idea. Another bonus, each of the top 3 overall and age group winners got running journals.