Hoof it for Heifer 20K
The test is complete. It wasn’t an A but it wasn’t an F either. In my struggle for mediocrity, I’d give my body a C, my attitude a B and my company for the day an A+.
Running in a series of races this winter gave me opportunities to meet a few new folks. I’ve been a solo trainer since my running partner at work moved on to greener job pastures, I run by myself on 99.9% of my training runs. One of the runners in the trail series is my new buddy Jason: ex military, tough mudder, gentleman racer and all around nice guy. Our pace is similar so we end up running together in these short distance races. Weeks ago my son asked if I would do the Hoof it for Heifer 20K trail run with him. Not WITH him, but at least during the same general time period. He’s a 6:15 per mile road runner, I am most certainly not. The 20K would be his first mid-distance race and his first trail run. Jason also planned to run it and being old hats at this trail thing, I knew we’d probably run a lot of flats and hike a lot of hills so I expected the boy to be off the front early on and he was.
Since I have been avoiding running for the past 4 weeks, I wasn’t sure what to expect from my body. She gave me what she could for the first 6-7 miles, I was feeling pretty good, running almost all of it albeit slowly. I had very good company, we had a group of about 12 together up to the mile 4 aid station then dwindled to 8 by the mile 8 station and after that we were 4 all the way to the finish line. I had the ankle in a compression brace and it was holding up well but after an ankle deep creek crossing I think I should have stopped to retie my shoes. Between compensating for the ankle and my foot slipping a little inside my wet shoe, the opposite knee started to give a twinge. Miles 10-12 were fraught with steep climbs and beautiful scenery. Always the gentleman, Jason stopped at any steep, tall step to make sure the ladies made it through.
Unfortunately the inevitable happened and one of our four took a slip on a rock that wasn’t steep but she had stepped right onto some slick moss. We stayed with her to make sure she was able to get up after busting her tailbone hard. We knew we only had a couple of miles to go so we slowed down, enjoyed the day and agreed that we’d get there when we got there. If I had been alone, I probably would have pushed myself, may have ended up hurt, and would have missed moments like this when I stopped to snap a couple of iPhone shots.
And I would have missed finishing with my unplanned but fortuitous team now know as Team Gettin’ There.
The boy finished in 2:33 after being in the top 4 men in the first part of the race. His group got off course and he made a wrong turn on his own once but he still made incredible time in my opinion and got a good lesson in leadership when at one point he stuck to his guns about a turn on the course and he was right. My group came in about 47 minutes later around 3:10. We may not be fast but we’re a lot of fun! Now I’m looking forward to the next time the boy and I can trail run together. I mean in the same vicinity, on the same day, on the same course, regardless of the time split so we can have more moments like this: