It was nice to be back on my home trails this week. It’s amazing how good we have it with all these beautiful trails so close to home. I wasn’t really thinking of this as a race, as much as a fully supported long run.
I started out a little fast, but settled into a fairly consistent pace after that and, although the plantar fasciitis started bothering me after 14 miles and my legs were screaming at me because of the amount of long runs I have been doing lately, it was a great run. Inside Trail did a wonderful job with the aid stations and marking the course. If they can keep me from getting lost, it’s a good day! Aid stations were extremely well stocked and they had just what I needed all along the way.
I enjoyed running with Diane and Ron for a while and seeing friends at aid stations and along the course. Crystal and Hassan always make any race a good race. Finally meeting Alisyn face to face and running somewhere increasingly behind Diana really made me feel like I was just out for a run with friends. I also had some quality solitude time on the way back as I found my comfort zone and just cruised along with no one passing me and me passing no one for quite a while. I tired at the end (again 3rd race in 4 weeks and still really recovering) and I thoroughly enjoyed the post race massage offered by The Traveling Masseuse.
Some of my FTR friends finished their first 50k at this race, so congratulations to Damin and Jen on their great runs. Once you go ultra – you never go back! Jen won her age group and Damin took 3rd in his. As it turned out, I took 3rd in my age group, as well. This was likely due to the fact that there were only three in my age group, but I’ll take the extra medal.
I have been truly honored to be asked by several senior students at Sheldon High School (where I teach math) to mentor them in running related senior projects. Earlier this year, Anna completed a marathon, running her first ever race (a 5k) in the process of her training, as her second race ever. Emily completed a half marathon in March. Nick and Carla finished half marathons on Saturday (Carla on road and Nick trail), while Diamond volunteered instead of running due to injury. At the same time. Abdul, Xavier and Taylor ran the 35k with me. Well, I was with them for the first half mile.
Since it was an out and back course, I got to see them again, still very close together, when they were on the way back and I was not quite to the turn around point. They ended up finishing 4th, 5th and 15th overall and 1st, 2nd and 5th in their age group. At every aid station the volunteers told me how impressed they were with these young men and how strong they looked.
The best part came today, however, when one of them came in to see me and told me how much he enjoyed the run and that he would like to do more.
I’m so impressed with these young men and women facing difficult challenges, pushing through and accomplishing their goals. I feel amazingly privileged that they asked me to be a part of it.
Truth be told, the more I do this, the more I learn it isn’t about me at all. It never was!