Gingerly navigating down the first of many steep, muddy slopes while trying to stay out of the way of seasoned trail runners who flew past me during TBF’s Escape From Folsom 10 Miler, my goal quickly became “just avoid a trip to the ER”.

Those close to me know that I have no aspirations to do any athletic event with the word “Iron” or “Death” in it. My favorite Runner’s World article is Lauren Fleshman’s “10 Reasons the 5K is Freaking Awesome” and my favorite multi-sport event is Life Time Athletic’s “Indoor Triathlon Hour” – note no “s” at the end- just 60 minutes of pure redlining. I’m more of an intensity junkie than an endurance gal. And trails? Not exactly my terrain either. I have scars to prove it.

So, how did I get here?

Hubby and I were deciding how best to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. A trip to the coast? It could pour the entire weekend. A romantic candlelight dinner? Sure, but what about the rest of the day? Hey, let’s check out some race options…Uh, there’s a 5k at the lake… oh, and also a 10 miler. A 10 miler on our 10th anniversary? That’s it! I could extend my regular Sunday 6 mile “long run” to an 8 miler and be reasonably ready. Hubby, who has a steel plate in his ankle thanks to a multiple trail blunders himself, assured me he would take it easy and it would not be a repeat of our first wedding anniversary which really was spent in the ER.

So how was the race? As the miles clicked away, I began to realize that this was the perfect way to celebrate our anniversary. A trail run is a bit like a long term relationship. Sometimes it’s uphill and feels like hard work. It can be a bit rocky at times too. It’s also exhilarating and so worth the effort. And it’s OK to be not perfect – you learn as you go. And, if you are lucky, you have a lot fun along the way! Friends have already asked – 20 miler at 20 years? I still love my 5Ks and sprint triathlons, but we’ll see!

Relieved the technical part of the course is over.

And a special thanks to TBF for helping us celebrate!