Three years ago, I did Iron Mountain Trail Race. Three years ago, I stood at the starting line surrounded by strangers, ran the race completely alone, picked up my finisher’s jam, got in my car, and spent five post-race hours sitting in traffic on 81. Three years ago, I said never again.
Three years ago, I didn’t have these people.
These people turned a race I hated into a race I still mostly hate, but will absolutely continue to do. Because these people.
I ran Chaos last night. Doing strength intervals with GJB. He maybe hasn’t spent the whole week whining about the lack of Iron Mountain blog post…just most of the week.
But the problem is that there is just too much to write about. Too much happened. Too many memories. I’ve written some stuff, but it feels like too much to read about.
So, before we started our run last night, I told him he had to inspire me. So I could write something. And then I’d give him co-authoring credit.
He did not disappoint.
He didn’t give me actual material to write about. But he damn sure inspired.
Because while he said he wanted to get in some real running, so let’s not go crazy with the strength piece, I did not know just how hard he was gonna push me.
We started off fast, but liveable. And he let me walk a little on the major uphills. Until Spartanface or K-Rob-D or Finn’s Dad would pass us. Then he’d make me run some more. Because winning.
But when we hit the first major downhill at a 7:40 pace, he got excited.
Now, I don’t run a 7:40 pace. I don’t run an 8:00 pace. Hell, I barely manage an 8:30 pace when I’m well-rested and trying really hard.
But I also don’t just let GJB have full bragging rights in a run we started together.
So we ditched the pushups for the last two miles, and I spent that time wondering what it might be like to spend my time with people that don’t push me to do better.
Because I am surrounded by them.
And a large percentage of them were at Iron Mountain last weekend.
Giving me two days of perfection.
Beautiful Beastie gave us organization and beautiful camp fires, even if her love for fire is a little unsettling.
Everyone’s Favorite Husband gave us the perfect collection of cabins for our amazing weekend. And also plenty of laughs. Particularly when he turned to me a mile into the race and asked, “So, what is your strategy for the race?”
I know. I laughed, too.
Team CorkWalker gave us some of the most excellent and entertaining stories I can’t ever share. But I’ll always have them. And that’s comforting.
Rogue gave us magic fire and a bickering partner. So we can comfort and entertain. Because our bickering comforts OT. And entertains strange guy desperately trying to stay ahead of us on the trail.
Finn’s Dad gave us questionable jokes and a chaperone for Rogue and I. And the sweetest dog in the world to wake up to. Who he hand feeds in bed in the morning, by the way. Just saying, ladies. Pretty sure he’s single. And he was super tolerant of our bickering. “Finn, the moms are fighting.”
OT gave us burpees and perspective. Particularly in response to Rogue’s magic fire. Which he watched quietly for a really long time before leaning over and whispering, “I don’t want to say this out loud, but that fire is a weird color.” Shhhhh, OT. We know. It’s ok.
Lil T gave us beautiful smiles and lots of whispering in ears. Which is how we know she’s having a really good time. When she starts whispering.
GJB gave us questionable conversations and original music. And while he really should have an “Explicit Lyrics” sticker for his guitar, he keeps his music circle small. And none of us want to repeat what he sings about us anyway. So it’s probably fine.
LeBBQ gave us food. So much food. So much just really delicious food. To the point that he stopped in the middle of his race, produced a gallon size ziploz bag, which he apparently just always carries, and made OT stand guard while he foraged the surrounding woods for breakfast ingredients. And then proceeded to make THE most delectable breakfast I have ever experienced the next morning. (How do we get him booked for all of our races?)
And Tiny Brazilian gave us what she always gives us. Smiles and mouth words. So many words. As the entirety of the Roanoke Valley collected at the finish line to watch her complete her 40 mile retribution race (last year was a shit show for her), we sent Finn and his dad out to look for her.
“Do you see her?”
“Maybe. I see a pink shirt. I’m 70% sure it’s her.”
“Wait. Yeah. I hear a voice. It’s her.”
You don’t ever look for TB. You listen for her. You’ll hear her way before you see her.
Watching her run the RVTR flag through the finish was probably the best thing we’ve ever seen.
There’s so much more I could share. But I’ll just give you this. Go out and find you some of these people. And then just go do all the ridiculous things. Because they make life exactly what it should be. Fun. Exciting. Challenging. And every now and then, a little bit dangerous.