Last year...my brother's first race ever was a 4 mile trail race in Ashland, NE. I wasn't sure if he was hard core or nuts for tackling a trail race as his first race but he continued to talk about the race for the next year so I figured now that I live close...I couldn't miss out on experiencing it for myself:)
On Saturday I was spoiled by the most gorgeous weather and warm temps so I headed out for some miles around town...exploring and smiling in the sunshine. I ran around the capitol, down by the Lincoln zoo and along one of their bike trails.
Post-run we enjoyed some football and pre-run fueling in the form of fro-yo...of course:)
I wasn't sure what to expect but went to sleep that night anxious and excited for the race the next morning.
I was honestly skeptical about the trails of Nebraska...I mean seriously. Isn't NE supposed to be flat or something? And I mean...they really have trails there?
Wow. Was I in for it! After starting out [too] quickly on the opening road portion of the race...I was in for a surprise as we hit the trails...hill after hill, some so steep they had ropes out to help you or you just had to use your hands, along with your feet, to help you up. There were also 3 creek crossings. It felt like an adventure race. I have never run 4 harder miles...but as I looked around...I smiled so big. I tentatively toed the water of the first creek...but the next one I practically dove in and told my brother I had wanted to raise my arms and start screaming I was so happy and excited to be literally racing through the woods. What an incredible and engaging 4 miles. I ran as hard as I possibly could...lungs and legs burning and just as I thought I couldn't last another step, the finish line popped up in the distance, the music blaring and I ran strong for the finish mats, smiling but already sad it was over. The most difficult but most rewarding 4 miles I could ever dream of...completed.
Loved every tough second and enjoyed even more that I am able to share a passion for running with my lil bro. Plus it was pretty awesome to be greeted by an epic finish line party with dancing, delicious food and the sharing of stories with other runners.
Post-race we of course looked forward to the perfect choice for refueling: PIZZA!
And then...after a weekend gone by far too quickly...we headed back home to Minnesota, exhausted but grateful for sweet memories.