Saturday morning I returned to one of my favorite places to run, after too long an absence. The trails along the north shore of Lake Grapevine are maintained primarily by mountain bikers, but they are prime trail running trails. Over the last year, my trail runs have been on trails within a shorter drive from my house, but Saturday's run may have convinced me that the few minutes of extra drive time may be worth it.
Saturday's inaugural Rugged and Raw 10K/20K, sponsored by Back on My Feet--Dallas, served as a nice training run for Rockledge Rumble, coming up in 3 weeks, but based on some conversations I overheard, also provided an introductory trail run for some road runners.
I lined up for the 7:30 20K start with, I'm guessing, about 20-25 other runners. I saw some familiar faces: Phil, with whom I ran at Lake Whitney earlier this year; Fred, whom I've seen at many races and who amazes with his finishes, including a sub-34-hour finish at the Wasatch 100 last month and a Grand Canyon rim-to-rim-to-rim run this spring, all at the ripe young age of 62. I knew I shouldn't try to keep up with Phil, so I let him go on ahead and fell in with the middle of the pack. After a short run across the parking area, we immediately jumped onto single track. Feeling good, I cruised along with the runners in front of me for a while. A few minutes down the trail, I glanced down at my Garmin--I was running an 8:30 pace! That's much too fast for me, certainly faster than I could maintain on these trails for 20K.
I let off the gas a bit and eventually fell in with a couple of other runners. I ran with Teresa for a bit. She runs in one of the BOMY running groups. I enjoyed hearing her first-hand account of her involvement with the organization. About half-way through, I ended up running with Brent, which was nice. I let him set the pace, and I know he ran faster than I probably would have on my own, but I kept up with him, finishing in 2:08:58, second in my age group (out of 3!), 12th overall (out of 21 finishers).
Besides a nice run on a beautiful day on some terrific trails, this run and the whole mission of BOMY remind me of one of the great things about running: out on the trail (or street or sidewalk), everything else is stripped away. We are not business owners and homeless people, flight attendants, medical professionals, and stock traders, single or married, rich or poor. We are runners. BOMY gives people who have ended up at a low point, either by bad luck or bad choices, a chance to participate in something that will not only build up their bodies and minds, but will give them a chance to interact with runners as runners, as people with people. Thanks for the great morning, BOMY. Run on!