My daughter got jostled in the crowd, tripped on a rock before the starting line, tumbled forward and scraped her hands. She stood up, dusted herself off, marched over to me and announced that she was done with this race and possibly with trail running in general. Unsure whether to laugh or cry, I gave her a hug and we headed to the first aid tent for some TLC.
My Son's Race
Once my daughter was cleaned up, we found a spot near the end of the kids' race and waited to cheer for my son. We didn't have to wait long. He was going for broke, running for the finish line with kids much older than him. He was, until he saw us. He crossed over to us and slowed down to tell us how much fun he was having.
"Great, keep running!" I said.
He turned and sprinted for the finish, taking second place, a step behind a kid who passed him when he slowed down to talk to us.
Here I Go Slowly...My Race
My race started shortly after without anyone in a zebra costume. Unlike a road race, I wasn't sure what my pace should be. I run regularly but climbing uphill on trails is a different story, and I wasn't quite sure where to start in the crowd. I picked a group of mid-pack runners who looked about my age and hoped for the best.
The start of any race is exhilarating, and this one was no different. I held a steady pace, running up and up and up. My running became some sort of combination of hiking and jogging. The views were amazing: meadows full of wildflowers and lakes rimmed with ice. However, I am not particularly sure-footed, and running down rocks and over roots required all my attention.
And then it was done. I was running for the finish line when I heard the cheers. "Go, Mommy! Keep Running!" and "Good Job, Mommy!" My kids were jumping up and down when I finished. It might've been my favorite finish to date.
What We Learned on the Trail
We all took something a little different out of this race. My son surprised me. The trails tempered his competitive spirit, and he told me that the combination of scenery and running made him happy. He's been other trails since the race, and if I had to bet, he'll be running on them as an adult, too.