Sunday, May 30, 2010

It's good to be yellow!

So today was the "Run for the Hills" race. I've entered it for the past several years but always as a walker, never as a runner. There are two courses, an 8k trail run which goes up, down, and up and over Bald Hill. There is also a 2 mile walk/run event on the bike path. I've always stood in the walker line, watching the 8k runners, green with envy. It's like the high school cafeteria all over again. Those runners are the cool kids, and there I stand with my lunch tray and my choir shirt on. Every year I tell myself, next year I will be one of them. Those "trail runners". They are a class all to themselves with their long hair or shaved heads. They have trail shoes caked in mud before they even reach the start line. They stretch, their bandannas flipped over their cool hair. They are serious, ipods, if on, contain music like Iron Maiden, Sound Garden, or some other driving beat. There is no room for pop queens here. Be damned you American Idol fans. No, they eat Justin Bieber for breakfast. Even their attire is different. You are more likely to see camo or tie-dye than a running skirt. No matching Nike outfits to be seen, it's function over fashion. And,like the Willy Wonka Golden Ticket,there is a pass to get you to the other side. The holy grail of this event is the yellow race number.

If you are a walker, or a 2 mile runner you get a white number. Somehow, you aren't even worthy of the same color race number as those trail runners. So for the past 4 years I have spent this first Sunday in June lined up with the white numbers. Always wishing, always hoping that someday I too would be yellow.

Today was my yellow day! I got up early, chugged my coffee, my peanut butter toast and my banana. I put on my short tights, my shorts (no one needs to see my butt in spandex) and my blue "run" shirt. Top it off with my black running vest and I can check off the "doesn't match" category of the trail runner. I lost a few points for the lack of bandanna, but it was hot today. I did have my ipod on but there was no pop to be found. Lynard Skynard belted out into my ears. As I pinned on the yellow number I was so excited I could hardly stand it. The rest of the event was pretty much a blur. I started too fast and choked a bit on the hills because of it. This was a super hilly race so I ended up having to walk the really steep stuff. There was a lot of jockeying for position along the way. I found a formidable opponent who would race past me on the up hills and I'd pass her on the down hills. We played cat and mouse until the end where she kicked my ass on the long flat to the finish line.

The trail was muddy and slick in certain spots and about 100 people running through a weeks worth of Oregon spring rain didn't help for traction, but as I ran through the mud and switchbacks I felt like a trail runner. I didn't see myself as separate from those other people, I was one of them. I didn't quite make my goal time, in fact I was off by just a couple of seconds, but that is ok. I have the yellow race number. I didn't win, I didn't even place in my age category, but that yellow number and running with the trail runners was priceless. Today will go down as the day I became one of them. I am a trail runner. Guess it's time to clean up my I-tunes!

1 comment:

  1. You were awesome today Trace! I knew you were before, but there's no doubt you're a trail runner now :)