Last weekend I went back to Laramie, Wyoming – where I attended college – for the first time since I moved away in July of 2010. What a wonderful and also emotionally charged trip this was. I grew up, gained independence, and really learned a lot about who I am and what I want from life in the 5 years I spent there. While I love living in Virginia, I do ultimately see myself moving back west if possible. Wyoming and the Rocky Mountain region in general will forever have my heart.
While there I ran the Silent Trails 10 mile race…a memorial trail run for the 8 University of Wyoming Cross Country runners killed by a drunk driver in 2001. At the start of any race I tend to tear up, especially those that are put on in memory of tragedies, such as this one. It does certainly help to put everything in perspective though. Petty problems & annoyances are seen for what they are – nonsense. Just being able-bodied and healthy enough to be out on the trails running is a wonderful gift that shouldn’t be taken for granted!
While I was glad to be there and be running, this race was a year after I ran the Baltimore Marathon last fall…and suffice it to say, my running has done a total 180 since then.
THEN: Last 10 mile run before Baltimore – Virginia 10 Miler. 8:34/mile pace.
Now: Embarrassing! Walked about 3 miles of it! EEEK. Excuses galore that I could (and did) use…but it really just boils down to, I am NOT in running shape. Turns out that’s what happens when you don’t run more than ~4 miles in the 8 months before a 10 miler! However, Wyoming welcomed me back with gorgeous views and the reminder that, “yes, of course the trails are covered in snow in October!” as well as “welcome to ALTITUDE you flatlander!”
Miles 1-3: Feeling good, mainly downhill.
Mile 3-4: Flattened out, snow became a bit deeper…and I started feeling the altitude and lack of training.
Miles 4-6: Up a steep, snow-covered trail named “Devil’s Crotch”. Let’s just say that if there is snow and any trail with the word “devil” in it, I want skis and to be facing DOWN it…not trying to run UP it. Walked most of this.
Miles 6-10: A mix of “I love Wyoming!” and “Why did I sign up for this?”…and some more walking. Finish line…WHERE ARE YOU??
More than just thinking back on the past year, this trip brought back a whole lot of memories about my years in Wyoming. To say I got a bit nostalgic is an understatement.
THEN: Last soccer game in the Fall of 2008. I spent a lot of time sitting on the bench, but it was still a bit weird being back in town years after my time as a college athlete has passed. While searching for an image to put here I actually came across this Athlete of the Week interview I did during my senior season, and couldn’t help but laugh at myself.
NOW: Went on a hunt for the brick my parents bought me as part of Wyoming’s football stadium renovation fundraiser. Success!
Returning back to focus on the present, tonight I am off to run the Mountain Junkies Into the Darkness Nighttime 4 Mile Trail Race. If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you’ll know I did this race the past 2 years and REALLY enjoy it. The organizers do a fabulous job and it has always been a lot of fun.
THEN: This same race in 2012 – with a 2nd place age group finish!
NOW: It remains to be seen. Attempting to just have fun and not stress about being so far off of where I was last year. My hip has officially been bothering me for a year, so I am just hoping to get through this without any pain tonight and keep moving forward and progressing!
Runners: Extended injuries or multiple in a year’s time? How do you deal?!?!