Race Recap – Running with Friends

God, Mother Nature and a race director walk into a bar.

Mother Nature says to God, “Way to go, Daddy-o. You’ve created something great.”

God replies, “Why thank you. That piece of land there in the foothills of Georgia is good. And you have decorated it so beautifully for Autumn.”

Mother Nature blushes deeply, adding even more color to this piece of forest dotted with crisp streams, frosted with thick mud and enshrouded lightly with fog.

At that point, the race director jumps in and says, “Well, now it’s time to do something with it. Something that brings this piece of glory to the people. But not all the people. The brave people. The ones who want to immerse themselves in this nature that is so good.”

And God said, “I made those people. They can see the beauty. Let them play!”

And all together, they said, FROGTOWN.

Okay. That might be a bit dramatic. But seriously, anyone who loves running and nature should run trail at least sometimes. And if you’re anywhere in north Georgia, Frogtown is as good as trail gets.

This is a trail race in the most general sense. Yes, there is single and double track. There is field and trail, but there is also stream, ravine, log jumping, rappelling and even a big army net to climb. Muddy Buddies have nothing on Frogtown. This is the original. And I love it.

For the past few years, my husband has scratched his head as I’ve described this race, confused by how someone who dislikes anything cold and wet (and especially something that is both cold and wet – especially undergarments or socks) could love this race so much. So this year, I dragged him along with me. And we brought friends – two other couples who have a sense of fun and bravery, and who obviously trust me way too much.

Early morning, pre-race.

We met in an early morning fog-covered field (so happy to have “Adventure Car” – my beloved Subaru Outback – for traversing the parking ‘field’!)  Big smiles, and big shivers – it was chilly! I was so nervous that they’d hate the experience – and me – that I actually had a nightmare about it. And standing there, cold and damp (and thankful for arm warmers!), I began to question the wisdom of persuading them to come.

But then, a woman with the voice of an angel sang the Star Spangled Banner as the sun rose above the tree line and began to warm us. We bowed our heads for a quick prayer, and set out.

For the next 4+ miles (which feel well longer, thanks to all of the hills and obstacles), we laughed, ran, jumped and played in the woods like little kids, enjoying and using all that God and Mother Nature (and a smart, visionary race director)  had laid out for us. Yes, we were wet. I was muddy clear through to my Oiselle “Race” Rundies. My poor, tough husband got stung by a bee (I won’t say where…but ow.) and twisted his ankle, and three of our other ‘team’ runners got stung too. But we finished with big smiles and the adrenaline pumping.

We didn’t lose anyone on the trail. Our other sweet friends were doing something smart like getting coffee when the picture was taken.

Whew. They didn’t hate it. In fact, I think they may have enjoyed all that God, Mother Nature and a Race Director put together for us on this beautiful morning. We all raced well, finished in the top of our Age Groups and headed back into the city feeling a little tougher and a little braver.

It is awesome when we can take ourselves out of our quotidian and find something more – and find that it is good.

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