After the Leaves 2013
There were clouds, sun, rain, sleet, snow, and smiles at the Josh Feldt Memorial/After the Leave Have Fallen 20K Trail Race at Lake Minnewaska State Park Sunday morning.
The race started a little late, at 10 after 11. Steve Schallenkamp explained the name of the race. The ‘After the Leaves have Fallen’ part was evident just from looking around. Josh Feldt from Wallkill was born with disabilities but loved sports. The race is named after him and part of the money raised goes to a memorial fund in his name.
The weather was cool and cloudy with more than one variety of precipitation falling from the sky while runners were waiting excitedly to start the race.
There was some rain the morning before the race so parts of the course were wet. It rained during the race. Or maybe it was sleet, it may possibly have been snow. It was certainly blustery.
The course was well marked with cones and flour arrows.
The first four miles are up, up, up. The views are worth the effort. ‘Yes, I ran up here just to see this’.
I had a friend in from Florida. I had never run the whole ATL course. I guess as a guide I failed to take into consideration how the environmental factors would affect her race when I invited her to join me. She struggled, for about the first 9 miles of the race. Neither the weather nor the hills are part of her daily running training.
It became clear to me very quickly that my race wasn’t going to be about my time, but about sticking it out with my friend.
We walked a lot of hills. We jogged. Sometimes we ran. It rained and sleeted on us. Later my friend told me she hated me during parts of the race.
I knew as crappy as she felt during the race, she would feel worse if she gave up. It became my job to keep encouraging her.
I told stupid stories. We talked about karate training and the marathon we are running together in Florida, in March.
The water stop at mile five was seemed like it was mile 10.
Ahh but the views and every now and again the sun would poke through.
Around mile 7 I ran back to check on a woman who had fallen.
I caught back up with my friend and a new running companion at mile 11 who had run a marathon less than three weeks before and was just trying to finish this race.
The last few miles were pure joy for me. For once I got to be the one with all the energy who kept everyone else motivated. I sang a little bit. Ran. Slowed and then ran more.
We crossed the finish line at 02:24:26 and 02:24:33.00.
And, is so often the case, my friend was glowing at the finish feeling fantastic for her accomplishment.
It was a good day running.