My love of running started my freshman year in High School when I signed up for the cross-country team to keep myself in shape for Soccer. We didn’t have a lot of big climbs in Omaha, but we did have some beautiful wooded parks to run through. The one I remember most is Walnut Grove Park. We would caravan over there after school for a nice winding run beneath the Walnut trees. To this day, I can still smell that crisp fall air and I remember the sound and feeling of Walnut shells crunching under my shoes. Fast-forward nearly 25 years and here I am, much older, but still enjoying the smells and feelings I experience while I run. My senses still come alive like they did at Walnut Grove- even more so. And I’m mature enough to appreciate and absorb every moment.
Now I’m sitting at my desk a couple of days after Run Rabbit Run remembering the wonderful smell of the Ponderosa Pines, the fresh mountain breeze and the dirt. I’m remembering the shimmering golds and flaming reds on the bushes and Quaking Aspens. I’m remembering the soothing sound of Fish Creek Falls at night and the crunch of ice under my feet in the morning. I’m remembering the joy and relief I felt when I saw the first hint of sunrise- a greenish hue behind the endless rows of pointy pines. These are the smells and sounds and feelings I’ll carry with me forever like the ones from Walnut Grove.
Here are the experiences I’ll remember most from RRR :
- Standing at the start with such an amazing group of ultra-athletes including Tim Olson, Jason Schlarb, Cassie Scallon, Nikki Kimball, Michelle Yates, Nick Clark and Emma Rocca.
- Chatting with Nikki Kimball for 20 miles as we rolled through Long Lake, Fish Creek and into Olympian Hall.
- Watching the sunset over Emerald Mountain. Rays of late-day sun peeked through the trees and lit up layers of tree-covered hills for miles
- Running into the Olympian Aid Station and seeing my family and so many friends ready to help
- My solo night venture up Fish Creek and through the meadows under the stars
- Jenn Shelton and her crew serving Mezcal and Whiskey at Long Lake Aid
- Discovering the drop bags were all encased in ice-crystals
- Seeing so many friends out on course during the marathon out-and-back from Summit to Spring Creek
- The AMAZING crews who were freezing their asses off at Dry Lake for hours
- Stepping on a mouse. EW!
- Leading the race at mile 85 (it didn’t last long)
- Watching Emma Rocca get a second wind on the Wyoming Trail. Amazing.
- The beautiful stars and crescent moon
- The stillness and endlessness of the night
- The pain in my legs and hips
- The slow, quiet sunrise
- The solid-white frost-covered meadows near Long Lake
- Seeing the fresh-faced 50-Milers on my climb to the final aid station
- The excruciating pain in my legs during the last 6 miles down Mt. Werner
- The appreciation I felt for my body as I neared the finish
- Seeing my amazing family and friends at the finish line
- Sitting in a chair after 22 hours and 50+ minutes on my feet
- Watching countless other incredible people cross the finish line
- Looking forward to experiencing it all again in 2016
I want to thank Paul Sachs, Brady Worster, Fred Abramowitz and all of the other incredible volunteers for producing such a wonderful event. Run Rabbit Run is a labor of love and it shows. The race is challenging, authentic and completely in line with the spirit of ultra running. The aid stations are top-notch, the course is absolutely gorgeous and the entire weekend is a celebration of the sport. And to top it all off, the proceeds go to local charities and back to the runners. It’s an incredible event for a great cause in a beautiful mountain town. Thank you!