If you are feeling like you are too old to do something, I suggest you take a run in the mud, or help a younger generation make some mud pies, or get a mud facial. Any of the three can be healing.
It’s not that I wasn’t forewarned. I read the information on the Squirrelly Tail Twail Wun website. I heard numerous stories from year’s past. The trail can be icy or deep in snow. This year, the mud should not have been a surprise.
Unusually warm weather and rain a few days before the race guaranteed a messy course. Race day temps were in the low 30’s accompanied by a brisk wind.
After the traditional pre-race photo with my running group, I did a couple of warmup miles and saw what I was in for. I enjoy a fall run on the trails around Pincho Lake but winter/spring conditions are quite different.
Although there were a few drier spots along the way, running through the mud was tough going. Attempting to stay to the edge of the trail out of the deepest muck, I found myself entangled in wild raspberry canes along the trail edge.
Around mile 8 as we slogged along, a friend on the course made a comment about the joy of playing in the mud. That helped my state of mind and I decided to let my inner child come out and play.
With some bloody splotches on my hand from the close call in the raspberry brambles and having landed on all fours at one point, I arrived at the finish line a dirty, happy runner.
You won’t find overall finisher or age group awards at the Squirrelly Tail. You will find a memorable February challenge and a beautiful course, whatever its condition.
After picking up my finisher medal and enjoying some post-race chatter, I returned to the trail to get in another three miles to fulfill my 18-miles for marathon training. Fortunately, I remembered to stash an extra pair of shoes and warmup pants in my bag for the ride home. Trail shoes are once again clean, only the memories and some dried mud on my floor mat remain.
What are your February memories to warm you through a blustery March? Did you let your inner child play, and did it involve mud?