Up before dawn and out the door with coffee in hand and running necesseties in my bag. I met up with Sophia, Hunter and Fritz for a carpool to the race. On the way there, I realized I was not with a group of casual runners. These are serious runners! As I checked in, there was a chill in the air and the brisk breeze added an exclamation point. I handed in my registration form and eight dollars and recieved bib #13. Mmmmmmmmmmm, I thought. I am running in a race at a place they Kill Creek, wearing #13 and running with a group that claims they bury whiners in shallow graves. And it is two weeks before Halloween. Ewe, kinda creepy.
Out of the gate, I fall back quickly as usual. I watched the others dissappear quite methodically. I have been a competitor all my life in sports such as volleyball, basketball, track and softball. I used to get so damn nervous before games and races that I couldn't eat for an entire day. I used to expect more out of myself than anyone dare to know. That lead me to always performing sub-par. My life now is hectic and stressful with 2 children, 3 dogs, a 25 acre plot of land, an ailing father and 3 businesses to work and manage. I lost my mother 7 years ago and not a day goes by that I don't think of her and wish she were here to see the baby of the family taking on so much responsibility.
Once again I felt alone with most of the pack ahead of me and a few behind me. I came to the first error in ways and went left when they clearly stated go right. I did stop and ponder a second as Karen, her son and another caught up with me. Not sure why we went left but I was in the lead and they followed. A little ways further and I realized we were running the same damn trail. To me it was no big deal but I felt bad for the ones who followed me. I kinda felt like "Wrong Way Ralph". The extra miles were nice on such a beautiful course on a georgous day.
We ran as a group for awhile and then I am not sure what happened but I fell back from them. Through the creek and out onto the second loop. Here I was again, running alone and falling back into my thoughts. I am not here to win or break any PR. No, not this year, maybe next. I am here because I enjoy the run, the scenery, the people and life. I am here for my children. I am their greatest mentor and my goal is to lead by example. I have attempted the world of soccer, t-ball and basketball with my 3 & 5 year old daughters. I failed miserably as a "soccer mom". I realized that successful, happy people are passionate about what they do and you cannot teach passion. There is plenty of time for my kids to get involved in sports and other activities when they so desire. In the meantime, I want them to see me pursuing my passions while still making plenty of time for them. I want them to see the happiness that following my passions brings to me.
Okay, so enough about that. Here I was feeling like I was in last place and not hearing or seeing anyone else made me remember my #13 and running in a place called Kill Creek. "Hey, Mary Ann!" I looked up to see Karen and her son just as Gary Henry caught up to me. What the heck? Why is he behind me? I met him awhile back when I was on my way out. He was apparently a little confused to come up on me. He ran this loop twice, I guess. He passed me and off into the woods he dissappeared. As I crossed the creek on the way back, I was greeted by Kyle who told me where to go. I felt good now and stepped it up a notch so I could finish strong. Only one problem, I missed the hard right turn and sped on through the woods going the wrong way. "Mary Ann!" I stopped as Karen hollered at me to come back. Thanks to her, I turned around and followed her for awhile. That burst of energy that was to carry me into the finish seemed to have depleted. I am sure it was a mental thing.
I finished none the less but with a longer time than my Sandrat Trail Run. Oops! But I still beat Gary. Not sure how, but I am guessing he didn't have someone like Karen to stop him from running on out to the first loop again. Trail running is new to me as is distance running. I will get better, stronger, faster and smarter. That you can count on! After parting ways with my carpool buddies, I went on home to carve pumpkins with my kids and play in the afternoon sun. Mom would be proud.