This weekend I ran the Down to Run 10 Mile Night Owl trail race at Oleta State Park in Miami. I've done a few events since the NYC Marathon (special recap for that one still to come!) but this was the first FL trail event I've done, and it was a special one.
Last year I was all signed up for the first Night Owl 10 miler with my friend Amy. it was going to be a fun event, running trails, it's at night, dark - sounds like a great time! Life stepped in though, and it wasn't what either of us expected.
Amy's sister died four weeks before the event, and my mom died the morning of. She was running through her sadness and pain, and I just wasn't even capable of running a step that night. Our race together wasn't happening, understandably. I wanted to see her and hug her and just support her through her loss...and I couldn't because I was overwhelmed by mine. She wanted to do the same for me, and ran hard through the night for both of us.
I've been struggling for quite awhile to find my stride, get some motivation - but I tend to shut down and curl up when I'm sad or things are hard. I need a little bit of Amy's ability to use those feelings as fuel, and burn some of the stress off on the roads and on my feet. I'm trying. I'm smiling, I'm active, I've been hard at work just getting out there and enjoying the miles with no pressure. Maybe now it's time to push the pedal a little harder - see what this engine is capable of. Get out of the garage a bit and blow the carbon out, as Mr. Ed would say. Meeting Amy at this 10 miler might spark something in me, I was hoping. We would finally have an event we could start and finish together too. We'd run events (6 hour four member team relay; GORUCK events) together before, but this was different.
|Race start. We even waited for the second wave and just calmly started. Zero pressure!|
|Headlamps can be tricky if you don't make them tight enough|
Sure enough, the day came and off we went. We started together (with her friend Ally) and the miles clicked away. This wasn't a race for me (I was no where near race shape, have not logged many miles lately, speed has been neglible) but an event to enjoy. Amy loves to compete - but at mile 8 when I took a dive for the second time (my shoe got stuck on a root and it actually ripped when I fell but the shoes didn't dislodge from the root) I told her to go. I was tired, obviously not picking my feet up enough (these were mountain bike trails that were windy and twisty and full of roots and rocks and everything else....and it was pitch black) and I was now concerned about actually hurting myself. I didn't want to throw myself back into not being able to do much, so I decided to walk a bit and shake off the fall. Amy wouldn't go. She stayed with me and walked until we came out of the woods, and we started running again.
|Yes an incline, but an easy part of the trail. No twisty turns with roots!|
Some kid yelled "almost done, a mile and a half to go!" and I swear we ran for another hour (ok that's an exaggeration, but seriously never say "almost there!!" unless you can see the finish line. Never!) to the finish. We ran along the dirt path (again, it felt a lot longer than a mile or so jeeze kid) and kept talking. We ran along the water and made a point of looking at the water, the buildings in the distance, the moonlight. We would have splashed a bit on the shore if not for the 'Contaminated water' signs, sigh.
We kept going along the path, hearing noises from the finish line but seeing nothing. Still chatting all the while. Finally, the finish. We grabbed each other's hand and finished together. I might have gotten her to slow down and take a breath for a bit, and she got me to just get out there and go. I loved this event, and hope I get many more finish line photos with Amy!!
|Finally a finish!!!|