RUNNING on borrowed time….

James 4:14 "…whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away."

David’s Trail Endurance Run 25K

on January 24, 2017

Monica and I lost our minds and drove to Mountain Home, Arkansas to participate in the David’s Trail Endurance Run 25K… and it was such a lovely way to go crazy! We laughed all the way there… missing turns and making frequent U-ies (no, not a word). We grabbed our packets (bib, tshirt and a coupon) at the Rocking Chair Resort and then crunched gravel again (more U-ies) to discover our accommodations for the night.

We had the most ADORABLE cabin at the Take It Easy Resort! While vandals were pitching fits over their disappointment with the new president, we were squealing with glee over our cute patriotic little white cabin nestled next to Lake Norfork! The decor spoke to my Little House on the Prairie (plus running water) soul!

cottage-6

It was dark when we arrived, so we couldn’t completely comprehend the beauty of our surroundings, but we drank in the quaint peace of our environment. There were mints on our pillows, and a precious goodie bag with a pre-race message from our hosts on the table.

swag bag.jpg

The owners are previously from Hawaii, and they exude the pleasant, take-it-easy attitude of their resort, with humor. We totally enjoyed meeting them!

Race morning was laid back. We were so close to the start line, there was no reason to rush. We dressed, ate, and took a photo or two…

January 21st is my oldest son’s birthday. He was NINETEEN years old Saturday. For the first time, he was miles and miles away (in service to our great country) on the day celebrating his birth… I so needed a good stomp through the woods to reconcile that reality with the blue-eyed, blonde-headed boy my heart keeps seeing when I think of him.

Wgreat-day-for-a-rune eventually left our precious little home away from home, and returned to the Rocking Chair Resort to continue our adventure! The weather was perfect at the start. There was no rain! We had been concerned about slippery rocks. Since I broke myself last year, I have a bit more fear… and Monica, brave and completely sensible woman that she is, was setting out on an ankle that she had rolled and injured just last Sunday! HOWEVER, we prayed for safety and healing, and believed for it.

We chatted with a lady around the fire pit pre-race who had completed the 25k last year. She mentioned how thirsty she had gotten. She was packing water this year. We had opted not to carry water. It seemed there would be plenty available on the trail… I thought every three to four miles. I can easily run three to four miles without a drink. So I thought…

The first 7K of the trail is the most technical. There were slippery inclines with steep edges and a single-track  rocky path. Gingerly testing her ankle, Monica was very SMART about the ups-and-downs and ROCKY technical portion of the run… which is the only reason I was ahead of her after a couple of miles of trail. Eventually, I was bottle-necked behind a group of runners on the single track after the 7k turn around… This was a blessing, as it caused me to be more cautious and not wear myself completely out in the first quarter of the run. I tend to overdo it trying to find open space. I find my happy pace when there is no one right in front of me, or right behind me… I love people…but, I adore solitary races with my God as my closest companion. I like to see bright glimpses of other runners ahead (so I don’t get lost…and to take out the spider webs), but not be caught in a pack. I’m not trying to catch up… I enjoy gliding along in the woods with the ability to gaze around and SEE and FEEL and EXPERIENCE nature. I pat the trees. I raise my hands. I speak aloud… No one really wants to witness all that!

I was able to pass as the trail widened…just before the first rest stop… where I had dill pickle chips and water! I thought I drank enough. I paused long enough. I took a napkin for my sweaty brow… and then charged ahead, seeking open trail.

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Photo cred: Arkansas Outside

I finally found a happy pace/place at about mile five. I was walking/hiking up most of the steep inclines and running the downhills and flats. The trail was mossy and the mist was clearing… the lake sparkled between the trees. I was thinking… “Would I rather be anywhere else in the world than digging my hills into this soft stony dirt?” “NO, I would not!” I was so happy to be right there testing my limits in those woods. Then, I felt a touch on my back. A grinning victorious face flashed past me! It was Monica, running uphill and down on strong ankles and legs! Praise the Lord! She disappeared into the dappled shadows and ran her race, a physical challenge accepted and overcome! She even took a couple of photos along the way!

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David’s Trail  is located nine miles east of Mountain Home on U.S. Highway 62, then one mile north on State Highway 101. It is point to point, and exists to encourage folks to get outside and play in the woods.  The trail skirts the edges of Lake Norfork. This provided us with sweet, soft lake-water breezes during the run… breezes like the breath of Heaven. The sun was out. The air warmed, and I got really, really thirsty… really thirsty… contemplating-lake-water thirsty. It was MANY MILES between the first and second aide stations (and there were only two).

At the 25K turn around, I ate a little pb&j sandwich, drank water, Gatorade, and then cola from a previously used paper cup (once again berating myself for not carrying a bottle), and returned to the trail. It had grown only more beautiful. I felt good for a bit, due to the snack station, but then the lack of electrolytes struck me hard. My right calf began to cramp. I sat down in the sunshine and took off my shoes, stretched, re-tied, chatted with another struggling runner, and set my body back in motion.

The last five miles of the trail were lovely… and HARD! Due to my lack of preparedness, I struggled. However, God is good, and I was able to focus on praying for my sweet boys, and reveling in the scent and glory of the fresh morning. I am so thankful for the weather. It was warm, but breezes kept kissing my cheeks. The sunshine, sparkling on the water and filtering through the trees, was splendid. I visited with several tough runners along the way, but spent much of the time on the trail in that final stretch alone with the Lord.

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Photo cred: Arkansas Outside

In the end, an incredible sixty-year old tough chick caught up with me, and we chatted our way to the finish line. She was using the 25K as a training run for another upcoming 50K. I was so impressed with her. She normally would have outrun me, but was having a rough day. I was so grateful for that short commune. A 60 year-old lady, and this 42 year-old daily-growing-older mom finished FIFTEEN MILES of trail on Saturday, and it was awesome. As long as we are blessed with life, we are never too old to dream, to move, to set new goals and to KILL ‘EM! We are not meant simply to wake up, eat, work, sleep, and repeat until we die. We are meant to LIVE! I plan to finish on empty…

finish-line

Photo cred: Monica

25kWe were awarded cup medals at the finish line and ice cold Gatorade. It was like nectar. I ached with thirst. I chugged the Gatorade, hugged my new friend, and sought out Monica. She had cheered me into the finish line, snapping pictures as I met my goal. (I wanted under 4 hours… and got in at 3:38:54!) There was an icy pool of giant water bottles. Amen. There was also an abundance of food and beer. We aren’t beer girls, and didn’t place in any award categories. So, we loaded up to retreat to our Take It Easy den… and my DIET COKE.

The Take It Easy Resort owners had given us leave to return and shower at our leisure. They also offered us a discount for the second night. I was in love with that little cabin. I called my husband. He and our youngest were having adventures of their own all day, but wanted to drive up and relax with me afterwards. Yay! So, Monica left me there. I found my way to the pavilion to stretch my sore legs, call my birthday boy for a chat, read my favorite Book, and journal.

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I finally got hungry and returned to the cabin to eat leftover pizza. I established myself on the cottage’s screened-in porch until daylight died out… it was a charming PAUSE to the lovely chaos of our world. Squirrels scampered in the woods, the breeze wafted bird song and children’s laughter through the screens, and the sun glittered on the lake. It was delicious nourishment for this nature-cravin’ soul.

screened-porch

My boys arrived after dark. It rained in the night, and we woke up Sunday to a dripping, fresh, cool Arkansas morning. We decided to check out the amenities for future reference. (We will be returning when the water is warm!) The boys enjoyed a little ping-pong and the swing set. We took the road to the dock and were thrilled by the slide and rope swing. The cool air and cold water were BARELY enough to keep my husband from testing the strength of the rope!

takeiteasy

We stepped out along David’s Trail, which cuts along the edge of the resort. We hiked a short stretch, and I demonstrated my trail run techniques (with sore quads), until it started raining again (whew!).

The boys skipped stones because… well, there was a lake!

takemeoutdoors

From pulling out of the parking lot on Friday afternoon, until pulling back in to pick up the mom van on Sunday afternoon, it was a delightful journey! We live in the greatest country on earth, in a fantastically beautiful state… SEE it. Go outside and go crazy! You don’t have to be a kid to PLAY. Catch the evidence of God in His handiwork surrounding us. God made it good.

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