Imagine running through the woods… leaping over creeks, and rocks, having branches scratch at your legs and your arms, not knowing which direction to run… All the while hearing footsteps behind you but seeing no one in front of you and hearing faint, barbaric yells in distance. You hope you don’t get lost and trapped in this forest forever, unable to escape and with no way of getting help.
I was home this weekend and haven’t raced since June, so when I saw a $20 5k I figured what the hell. Despite all those years of education and two advanced degrees, my reading comprehension skills still suck because I signed up for a cross country race without realizing it. That was my first mistake.
When I arrived it was as expected: a no frills, local race that had a small group of runners and oh yeah, they were mostly high school students prepping for cross country season. You’ll be happy to know that despite all the technological advances our youth enjoy with their smart phones, the puff paint arts are alive and flourishing. I’m horrified of running with high schoolers so that was mistake number 2.
We started on the grass in a field, so I thought it would be field running. Okay, the grass is dew-y and slick but I think I can handle this alright. Thanks, C&O Canal, I can handle a little gravel pathway no problem. This is totally fine. I can handle this. Mistake #3 right there. It was mud, rocks, tree roots… It was through the damn woods! With no pathway, and, by the way, you were constantly at risk of getting lost because this is a thing that really happened to people and just hoping you didn’t get Lyme disease.
Despite the poor judgement on my part, I was second in my age group and oh yes, I got a $25 gift card to a local pizzeria! So basically I made money off of this race, though the $50 giftcard to Wegman’s would’ve been much more exciting. Coco kindly offered to model my medal.