I have been craving some spontaneity in my life lately. I keep wanting to get out and do some unplanned things to make me remember to appreciate the life I am privileged to live. To me there is something about doing new things (rerun prevention) that helps me review my perspective and renew my passion for my life. Friday night I exercised my spontaneous nerves by signing up for two races and making plans with three great girlfriends.
The first race was a trail race, the final event in the Cascadia Trail Series put on a by a high school friend. I decided to text my friends Tiffany and Melissa to see if they would be into checking this race out. I knew it would be much more challenging than the trail races that I organize but it sounded like a fun way to spend some time in nature while chatting with girls that I love. I did some trade with the race director and got all three of us comped into the race so that no one had a reason to back out.
We decided to walk the uphills and jog everything else – Melissa was two weeks post-marathon and Tiff and I both had a half marathon the next morning so a challenging 15k seemed daunting. The race turned out to be only 7.5 miles due to mistakes in marking the course so in hindsight, we could have run a little more of the course but all the chatting and girl time made the whole thing a great Saturday girl activity. We were 47, 48, & 49 of 61 runners which proves just how seriously we took this ‘race.’ We did achieve our goal of having fun, which you can see in our post-race smiles.
The second race for which I registered on Friday was The Other Half in Moab, UT. The last time I did this race was 2007 when I ran it as a last minute decision, again, I drove down after my shift selling shoes at the running store. I am ashamed to admit this but back then I was so poor that I ran the race as a bandit and snuck onto the bus with a fake bib number (sorry Ranna!). I don’t have an official race time because I didn’t finish the race, instead I ran right past the finish chute and back to my car in the gravel parking lot a couple miles away.
This year I paid for the race and thoroughly enjoyed all the amenities. The race directors put on such a great show. Their races are all well worth the money and I make a weekend out of it by trail running and sunning myself in the warmer temps. This weekend I spent with my husband, my friend Tiff and her boyfriend, and my friend Meghan. The race was harder than I remembered. I recall some hills in the course but this was more than hills, it was six miles of rollers, the kind that make your pace swing from 6:30-9:30 depending on which side of the hill you are running. I probably ran the race a little harder than what I was in shape for and with the 7.5 miles of hunning (hike/running) the day before, I had already worn out my hip flexors and glutes a little bit; which doesn’t help with the rollers.
I managed a 1:46 finish. I was fourth in my age group (six seconds off of third, dang it!) and 105 out of 1113 overall. Not bad for a comeback race, right? The course is stunning and I was able to run to a list of songs that made me literally look around and appreciate what I was doing and where I was doing it.
Then as I came into the finish line, a half mile stretch from a highway to a resort, I thought I saw my name on a sign. I blinked and looked again. Yup, it still looked like my name. Ash has never done something like that though so it must be another girl with my name (I suppose that is what running 13 miles can do to one’s brain). Then as I passed it, I read the rest, “You run better than the government!” Definitely a sign custom made for me. I realized that my friend Meghan had planned that little surprise for me and in doing so, basically slapped my behind and said, “Get after it!” I finished the last quarter mile at a 6:30 pace. Thanks Meghan, that one is going to live in fame on the wall in my office as a reminder to forever ‘get after it!’
Meghan and I have gotten to spend more time together over the last two days; enjoying each other’s company whilst enjoying some refreshment and yoga. I am really looking forward to a sunrise run with her tomorrow before I leave her new home and her company for the next couple of months.
There was one lyrical line in particular that struck me while I was running, it might get put into print for the office later.
When you’re happy like a fool, let it take you over.
When everything is out, you gotta take it in.
That really sums this whole thing up for me.