Resolution Run, Red Mountain Park, trail running, Alabama trail running, first trail race
Race Reports,  Running,  Trail Running

Resolution Run Recap – Darnell’s First Trail Race

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!

Resolution Run, Red Mountain Park, trail running, Alabama trail running, first trail race
Let’s kick off 2016 with a trail party!

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.

Resolution Run, Red Mountain Park, trail running, Alabama trail running, first trail race
Darnell’s shadow

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.

Resolution Run, Red Mountain Park, trail running, Alabama trail running, first trail race
It’s rare to find exposed single track in Alabama

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!

Resolution Run, Red Mountain Park, trail running, Alabama trail running, first trail race
Three Musketeers

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.

Resolution Run, Red Mountain Park, trail running, Alabama trail running, first trail race
Learning to walk power line hills

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.

Resolution Run, Red Mountain Park, trail running, Alabama trail running, first trail race
Bombing hills like a pro

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.

Resolution Run, Red Mountain Park, trail running, Alabama trail running, first trail race
Road runs sure don’t look like this

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.

Resolution Run, Red Mountain Park, trail running, Alabama trail running, first trail race
Home stretch

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.

Resolution Run, Red Mountain Park, trail running, Alabama trail running, first trail race
Finish line celebration
Resolution Run, Red Mountain Park, trail running, Alabama trail running, first trail race
I made Darnell a finisher’s award from a rock on the trail

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