Run On-Come Mud or Snow

 

This is what I have to show from the fantastic relay leg of the Mid-Maryland 50k this weekend. The day started with a beautiful coating of fluffy white snow across the trees and paths of Rockburn Branch Park. However, after 200 runners took to the course for one lap of what would be a 5 lap race, the course quickly deteriorated into large, thick puddles of gooey mud and melted snow. By the time my turn came around at lap 4, it wasn’t a few steps before the slipping and sliding began. At times it felt like mud-skating rather than running. And it was so much fun. I laughed harder than I ever have before when running and allowed myself to truly embrace the puddle stomping mess. I achieved my number one goal of avoiding a crash and my second goal of having a great time. (The first being much harder to accomplish than the second.)

My relay team and I enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere provided by the race director and crew. It was so nice to be in a place where for most of the “racers” it was about having fun and completing an endurance challenge and not about trying to be the best time. As each runner came through to go off on their next loop or send their next relay team member out we laughed at the crusts of mud, commiserated on getting lost, and enjoyed pumpkin bread. Who could ask for a better Saturday morning? Not me…

I would be remiss if I didn’t add one bit about running for Sherry. I joined the larger running community to honor the memory of Sherry Arnold by pinning her bib to my gear. I never met my sister of the roads, but thought about her a lot as I pushed my semi-broken body through the mud. I truly did. As I became weary, I thought of her. As I laughed out loud by myself in the woods, I thought of her. I felt a strong responsibility to run where she no longer can. It gave me encouragement and hope,  as we women take to our roads and trails, we honor her memory. We must run on.


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