When I’m in town over the holidays, I always do the Resolution Run. What better way to start the new year than with Red Mountain dirt all over your calves and shoes? I’ve been running it since their first year when the park wasn’t even officially open and the trails were just muddy indications of what was to come.
The Resolution Run was a fun morning on the trails for me. I ran a 20k feeling decent despite nursing a cold, then turned around and ran 10 more miles the next day. My body is officially ready for the 2016 racing season!
But this race wasn’t about me. My running mama Darnell decided after seeing me finish Pinhoti 100 that she needed a reprieve from the roads and wanted to try some trail races. And like a good adopted daughter, I promised to run with her every step of the way.
Running the Resolution Run with Darnell turned an otherwise cold and uneventful run into something much more. It was like seeing and experiencing trails for the first time again.
Every loose rock, ankle-twisting root, and slippery leaf pile made me grit my teeth and throw frantic glances backwards to make sure Darnell was still upright. The sunlight filtering through the barren tree branches, the vibrant new grass growing alongside the path, and the steam rising off our frozen yet sweaty bodies made me fall in love with trails all over again.
We ran with Sally, who had only two days prior raced and PRed a 50k. I’m thrilled to watch her train for her first 100 this summer, because that girl is going to make it look like an easy stroll through the park!
I loved being out there showing Darnell Red Mountain. I felt like a tour guide—showing my favorite patches of trail, pointing out the jeep roads where people mysteriously run “trails” so fast, reminding her that it’s perfectly acceptable to walk on Ike.
Let me tell you, Darnell killed it out there. She’s a trail natural—her footing was sure, and her strong and compact (read: tiny) body makes it easy for her to power up hills. I told her none of this during the race, however, because I didn’t want to make her self-conscious and have her start second-guessing herself.
I kept asking Darnell if she was enjoying herself. And when she’d call back “YES!”, I’d silently breathe a sigh of relief. Because while I don’t necessarily expect her to love trails as much as I do, I do want her to at least understand why I prefer dirt over pavement. Trails are so much more demanding and difficult (as she’d tell you), but they also have so much more to offer.
As my watch beeped over to the halfway mark, I sighed and said, “Ugh, that’s it?” I was sick, remember? Meanwhile, Darnell looked at her mileage and said, “Already!?” Despite our slower-than-roads pace, the miles were flying by for her. That’s when I knew she was hooked.
So there I was, sandwiched between a friend training for her biggest challenge yet and a friend just starting her journey on the trails. It was a good day.