Running up !

CRoss Country 8-15

My running partners this morning… Some of the boys Cross Country Team. If you want a little push in your running… run up! This morning I ran up… up with better runners than me and up the mountain. I took off down to Camp Thunder, the Boy Scout Camp, about 20 minutes from my house to meet up and run with the guys this morning. I figured it surely couldn’t hurt and running with faster people makes you faster. As you can probably tell from the photo, these boys are lean and guess what… fast. It didn’t help much that the trail was tough in places and straight up the mountain, being part billy goat would have probably helped me out.

The trooper that I am said go for it and I did. It started out well accept for the directions for the loop made me a little nervous, didn’t want to get lost not being able to keep up with the guys. About two miles in we started up the mountain. Guess what? I missed the trail marker even though I could here the boys yelling.. “Come on Ms. Pruitt!”  Lucky for me (God’s Provision for the weak) I ran into my son’s best friend riding his mountain bike. He got me back on course. I ran about a mile past where I should have turned off, but it was relatively flat so that was good. Back on course was all that mattered.

Up, up, up, the mountain I went. Switchback, after switchback slowly climbing to the top of the mountain. The trail is named Switchback… wonder why:/ It was pretty brutal for an old principal and a little over a mile with all the switching back and forth, but I made it to the top. Next on my radar… searching out Heart Attack Trail. Didn’t sound like much fun and I was thinking I had just neared the heart attack point coming up Swithcback. It didn’t sound promising. At the top, I saw the make shift aid station the coach had setup for the guys.. thank goodness for the coach! A few gummy worms and some water and I was off running again certain that I could take on the world. Reminding myself to pay attention to the trail markers!

As I ran along, I could hear war whoops and hollering across the valley. I knew the boys were having fun. I was enjoying hearing the playful cheers as the boys made their way quickly around the loop and I down into the valley. Watching my watch, I knew I was behind the boys due to missing the trail marker earlier… so once in the valley, I decided to turn around and head back up from where I had just come from. I hoped to head off the boys as they looped back around to the aid station before heading back down the mountain. I am not sure what the rest of Heart Attack Trail was like, but heading back up what I had just run was bad enough. I will get the whole loop next time and I am certain a heart attack like run with it.

Trail running is so different from the road, and hard. I have to say that even though it is much harder physically, I love it. It was so beautiful and I was so distracted by the scenery around me that five miles was up fast. Before I knew it, I was back on Switchback Trail.

Jolted back to reality, I heard this God awful noise. My hearing is bad anyway, but the closer I got back near the aid station, the more I realized that it was a person. JEEZ.. it was the coach. His ear plugs in singing to the top of his lungs… “Jaded” by Aerosmith. I realized he was in his zone and obviously oblivious to me or anything else in the world, I cracked up laughing. Funny to see other runners doing the same thing you do and I instantly wondered how many folks I had made laugh with my crazy singing of “Cruel Summer” by Bananarama. Thank Goodness the Coach is a great teacher and Coach because his singing along with mine would not be worthy of a career. He saw me and we both laughed at the realization that this is what old people do when they run—regress back to their youth and sing songs that make them reminisce and get pumped up! You do what you have to do.

Unaware of us, the boys were all waiting at the make shift aid station chattering about whatever high school cross country boys chat about… I try not to listen. The less you know the better.

Aid station cleaned up, loaded all in the back pack, slung on the Coach’s back and off we went. I have to say the run down the mountain was fast and crazy.. slipping and sliding… making my eye and feet coordination get it together. Good for the over forty eyes to have to work on depth perception to prevent a major face plant. To be honest I was going way faster than I would have by myself, working hard to keep up with the boys. It was funny. I could tell they were worried about me. All the way down the mountain…”be careful, switchback, sharp turn, lots of rocks..You all right Ms. Pruitt?” I smiled to despite the fact that I was somewhat tense, but finally relaxed and enjoyed the play of running down the mountain. Before I knew it we were back at the car. The guys were giving one of the boys a hard time… he had to wear my extra pair of running shoes as he had left out of his house with his flip flops on. Kids do the craziest things.

Running with the team this morning did lots of things for me. It reminded me why I love kids and do what I do. It pushed me harder in my running to stay up with the boys, knowing that in reality I couldn’t. I ran a hard trail pace for me and I needed that. A little over seven miles, I didn’t do too bad. I was pleased. I had the opportunity to run a new trail that I had never been on and it was gorgeous, by the river and up and over the mountain. It doesn’t get much better than that. The Fall down on that mountain must be beautiful. I will find out soon:)

 I was reminded that running can be play as I smile to myself thinking of all the hooping, hollering and singing that went on this morning on that mountain and across the valley. Play is good no matter how old you are. It is good for the heart, soul and mind. It was a good running this morning:)

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