This is a story of awesome runs and classic mishaps.
I joined two other badass runners for 7.5 miles in the Garden this morning at 7am. It was one of those runs that restores your faith in yourself as a runner – pure joy backed by a willingness to push hard and throw in extra hills just because they’re there, waiting to be climbed.
By 8:30 I was on my way to the Girls on the Run 5K at North Monument Valley Park. The important part of that last sentence was the word “North.” I am a directional dunce and of course went to Monument Valley Park; in my own defense, my fellow coaches called and gave me that address so that’s where I ended up. With my bag of supplies (ranging from the Girls on the Run lesson plans to pink hair spray) I took off running toward North Monument Valley Park. Unfortunately for me, I chose to stay on the western side of Monument Creek. I didn't realize my poor choice until I was another 1.5 miles upstream: there really are no bridges north of Unitah.
When the right park was finally in sight I climbed down the bank to the creek, took off my shoes and waded across the creek. This was a split second decision - it's just what happens when you're a runner on a mission. Mishap number two: a few feet from the “shore” I slipped. Mind you, I am also a klutz and I was carrying a huge bag, so it was pretty much to be expected when I endeavored to cross the mighty Monument Creek.
Soaking wet, late, bleeding, and flustered I met my group of Girls on the Run. A few minutes later we were off. Despite the fact that my shorts were drenched, this race was an amazing experience. To see these girls encourage each other, talk themselves through the tough spots, and realize that they really can do anything they put their minds to was a running experience second to none.
Runners know it’s easy to get bogged down in the details: mile splits, qualifying times, the latest hydration and fueling techniques, training plans, gear, etc. Today’s Girls on the Run 5K was a reminder that none of these details make us runners. That fact that we run – fast or slow, short or long – makes us runners. The fact that we thrive when we lace up shoes and hit the trails makes us runners. The fact that we bond over blisters and spitting makes us runners. The fact that when we're lost we attempt to run to our final destination makes us runners.
12 miles and a few adventures later, I'm convinced that this is how a Saturday should be spent - doing what you love and sharing it with others.