Last year I had a fabulous year PR’ing pretty consistently. I believe I PR’ed multiple times in 5K’s, twice in half marathons and even PR’ed in a 10K while pushing Che in the jogger with huge headwinds. It was a great year. Probably my best so far. Not to mention, I ran my first 30K, first full marathon and ran 5 half marathons (my goal was to run 4). I think I raced half the weekends of the entire year. Fabulous.
2012 has surprised me. I started trail running. It caught me by surprise, as I never really intended to. Actually, I never really realized there was such a thing as actual trail races. My whole world as opened up…. my whole collection of running friends has doubled.
Back in the fall of 2011, my sister called and said that a friend from Firwood contacted her and said that she sees me at most races and was wondering if I would be interested in running with her. I typically shy away from meeting new people, but for some reason I told Aimee that I would friend her on Facebook. It took Erinn and me months to actually meet. We planned quite a few runs and races together, but sickness or night shift would always cancel the plans. Quite frankly, I think both of us were nervous about actually meeting and we let things get in the way. Finally, we met in person (after emailing long messages back and forth for months) at the Jingle Bell 5K in early December. My life would never be the same.
Who was this girl who knew all of my friends and yet we never met? Who was this girl who had enormous lists of things in common with me? Who was this girl who has the deepest depth of love and caring for her friends and family? I am not sure I have met many people who serve like Erinn serves. I kind of mourn the fact that I only just met her.
We decided to tackle training for the Orcas 25K. Elevation gain for the race is 3,400ft. Rain, wind and snow all expected in the late January run. We crammed in 12 – 15 mile trail runs up Chuckanut, Fragrance Lake and Cleator on Saturday mornings. I got to reconnect with old high school friends, Nichole Morelli Braun and Rayna Swope. Our training included heavy snow, beautiful views of the San Juans and Mt Baker and learning how to pee on the trail. As much as we enjoyed the training and blossoming friendships, we couldn’t help but be intimidated by Orcas and feel like we were in way over our heads.
Orcas was amazing. Difficult, freezing cold, slippery and draining. And victorious. Erinn and Nichole, I believe finished 30 full minutes before I did. My goal was to finish under 4 hours and I finished in 3:50. As difficult as it was, I am hooked.
Bellingham Trail Running Series has just begun it’s first year of races. Erinn and I have completed the Fragrance Lake 25K (my time was 2:44) and the Stewart Mtn 15K (my time was 1:44). Having just had emergency surgery on Thursday, I think I’ll be out of commission for 6 weeks, but dreaming of the next trail run with my dear friends.
There is something ethereal and magical about running through the fog, up and over goat trails, by shimmering lakes and down mossy rocks. Something heavenly sharing this beauty with dear friends while sharing joys, victories, heartaches and losses. Such therapy I have never known. I am grateful to the Lord for combining His Creation with companionship and physical exertion. Only He could put the perfect combination in my life to make it that much more beautiful.
I only wish the masses could understand that running is much more than running.