‘Trail Run Tuesday’ this week included a new route at a very familiar venue, and my favorite venue, Mt. Falcon Park. As much as I love our usual route and am looking forward to running it again – feel I am finally strong enough to run the full course without any stopping or walking and want to see if I am right – this new route proved a nice change of pace.
We ran what will be the course of our next race, a 9 ½-mile out and back for the Mt. Falcon Trail Race next weekend; and it was like learning something new and unexpectedly admirable about a good friend you’ve known for years. Something that brings a smile to your face knowing that you love your friend that much more. I had never run the Parmalee Trail before, had not even bid it any attention truthfully. I think it may quickly become another favorite route.
Back in my Lady Trojan Cross Country days, we used to run the race course before meets. So our running the course brought back fond memories of my first years of serious running – the feelings of excitement, of butterflies nervously fluttering in my stomach, of imagining yourself racing the course as you run it during the race that come with running a new course for the first time.
It was like embracing a best friend you haven’t seen in years, only to realize that despite years passing void of communicative exchange, you will always say ‘hello’ and pick up right where you left off at your last ‘goodbye,’ never missing a beat.
And, at the end of the run, I was out of my blast from the past and right back in my running present among great friends sharing a mutual love of and respect for the trails, flip flops, lawn chairs, and a cold brewski or two:
I love nights like this one, live for courses that remind me of why I run, long for the next opportunity to enjoy the sense of serenity that come with sharing a beautiful place with good friends. And, in the midst of the hardest part of my marathon training, it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Running – and life – don’t get much better than this.
Melissa Mincic, Ph.D., a long-time road and trail runner, conducts applied child development research and works to influence child development policy at the University of Denver. Follow Melissa on Twitter at @nerdinrunshoes.