Monday, October 20, 2008

58 minutes 49 seconds

My road is tough. It's full of rocks and roots, hills and water crossings. Sometimes I'm on it alone-- other times I'm not. Still as I forage an unconventional path, I don't feel lonely. I feel energized. The scenery, stunning. The deer are my friends and my dog Puccini bounds up and down the hills, teasing. Catch me. Catch me.

I thought about bringing Puccini to the Fall Fell 7 miler, but decided against it. I'm tapering for Rock Creek, but was still hoping to run a decent pace. I didn't think the dog was the right companion, this time. I was hoping for 9:30 a mile pace. 9's would be super. Sometimes we surprise ourselves.

I caught up with Bad Ben about a mile into the race. A small relief since he was carrying a water bottle and I wasn't. I call it "Bendaid." A travelling aid station.
"We lost the young guy. He's usually one of the frontrunners." We were about at mile 5.
"Are we frontrunners?"
"Yes, Sophia we are."

It was a new trail for me, with some real challenges.
"This section is like the red trail."
The rocks were looser though, and kind of steep like at Wyco. But I was ok.

As I ran, I felt in perfect rhythm with the universe.
"It's like Neverland."
Emotionally naked, the rocks and roots were my jewelry. More profound than any band of metal.
I felt like I was flying as I went down the hills. I tap danced around the rocks in the water. Taking pleasure in the Element.
"Branch. Stump. Log."
Ben was shouting out warnings, and leading the way. We kept running into people who got lost and did an extra loop, so I was grateful . It was like running after Magellan, a human GPS! Was Ben having a bad day-- or was I having another breakthrough?
"Good job Ben!"
The surprise in Kyle's voice let me know, we were both having a very good race.
But it didn't feel that fast. It just felt good.

Honestly, I don't even remember the hills.
I do remember the water. On the first attempt, I nearly fell in. I guess I'm supposed to stand staight and look forward. But I got better.
On take two.. It was sheer, unadulterated JOY!

"Come on-- you're gonna catch him."
Dick Ross was adding some commentary.
"Yes, I am."
But not that day. A flourish of a finish, but Ben had me by 2 seconds. I figure he deserves to finish ahead for carrying the aid station, and for keeping me from getting lost.

Pace per mile? 8:23. I came in first female, and got a Trail Nerds hoodie for a prize. A 10th over all finish. Perfect 10!

Most of all, I had an endorphine rush that would be illegal if the Republicans had any idea how good it feels.

58 minutes 49 seconds. It was the best time I've had in my entire life.

I wanted to share it. I had our weather guy, Alex throw a couple pics in the weathercast that night. Got some funny emails from Topeka Nerds on that one.

Oh and the dog. He is always so sad when I come home, covered in mud and smelling like fun. The next morning I woke up an hour and a half before the alarm. Puccini looked at me with longing eyes.
"Please, please- can we run?"
It was off to Clinton, where he bounded up hills, splashed in the water and flew down the hills. Happy, happy, happy. Just like his mommie.

Muddy Hugs

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