Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Celebrating Three and Ten.

Almost ten years ago, I got off the couch and started an active life.  That didn’t prevent me, however, from hearing the three dreaded words “you have cancer” three years ago.  

I had planned to do my first trail run, the Bear Creek 10 miler, that December, and someone said “I guess you cannot do that; you’ll be in the middle of your radiation treatment.”  That made me mad as hell, so I went out and did the race anyway.  I persuaded a whole bus-load of friends to run the race too. 

So this December, I celebrated ten years of being active, and three years of being cancer free, by running 10 miles three days in a row, including running the Bear Creek 10 miler again, as the first of ten races I'm going to do in the coming year, culminating in a 100K race next September. 

This year, the Bear Creek 10 mile race was so much fun!  When you run on the roads, it can be boring.  Sometimes you just “zone out” and think of other things.  On trails, zoning out leads to falling on your face: you have to concentrate as you run, but at the same time you can enjoy the nature that surrounds you.  At Bear Creek, leaves covered the ground, covering rocks and roots that threatened to make you fall on your face.  Every 100 yards or so, the trail would be impeded by a downed tree.  No matter, runners simply “hop” over the logs.  And the race director had explained that we would encounter five creek crossings.  In reality, because this was an out and back course, we’d encounter creek crossings ten times.  Ten creek crossings in ten miles, so about every mile, we’d go “splash, splash, splash,” through the water.  Water would drain out of my shoes almost completely before the next splash.

I ran most of the race with a new friend, Jen.  She and I made bets on where we’d be when the fastest runner met us on his return to the start.  (This turned out to be at about mile 3.5—so he ran 7 miles in the time it took us to run half that distance).  We bet on how many guys would go past before the first lady.  (Only two).  We were running on single track, so when these fast folks came upon us, we stepped aside to allow them to zip past us.  Everyone in trail races is very friendly, though—even the leaders shouted “way to go, ladies” and “you look fabulous!” At the turn around, a volunteer said “it’s all downhill on the way back.”  We giggled and he said, with a straight face, “but you have to run backwards.”   

The winner of the race finished in 1:19, and the fastest woman finished in 1:22.  WOW.  I finished in 2:48.  Well, you know I got my money’s worth!

On Monday, I ran 10 miles on the roads.  I was running from my house in the park to Meadow Street in the fan, and it occurred to me: what do you find between a park and a meadow?  I decided to run such that my “map” would resemble a flower.  I’ve posted the map.  What do you think?  Well, I guess if I were an artist, I would be a true “starving” artist.

What’s next?  Well, on December 20th, I’m doing another trail race.  This time, it is a 50K.  That is 31 miles.

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