After much debate throughout the week, I finally decided to sign up for Saturday’s Eurocross 5k and 8k. My friend, Linda, had said it was tons of fun and two other friends, Madelyn and Julia, were going to do it so I figured that would be more fun than a long run alone. Jason said he was game and so Saturday morning, he ran to UAH and I drove.
I wore old shoes and running clothes as I’d been warned to do. I knew there would be hay bales to jump over and creeks to run through, but I wasn’t sure what either one would be like. I pictured the big round hay bales that one sees on farms and wondered how in the world I was going to scale one of those. Luckily for me, they were only knee high.
The creeks, however, were another matter. They were supposed to be knee deep but due to the copious amounts of rain we’d had, they were waist high. I was a little apprehensive about this but I’d paid my money, the 5k was about to start, and I figured it couldn’t be THAT bad…
I walked to the starting line with Jason, Madelyn and Julia. I got my three good luck kisses from Jason and then waited with Madelyn and Julia. The race director shouted, “Go!” and off we went. Julia and I ran together and it was hardly any time at all before we reached the first creek crossing.
We could hear it before we saw it. Laughter, shouts, and cheers from spectators, along with the sound of splashing water. Julia and I reached the creek and began to wade in. There was a sudden drop off which took us from our knees to our waists. This took my breath away the first time it happened and my own laughter joined that of everyone else. It took a minute, but we were out again, running around a field, only to enter the creek one more time!
This one also had an invisible drop off and in the process of sliding and slipping and splashing through it, my arm went out and accidently copped a feel of Julia. “Whoops!” I said. “Sorry about that, Julia.” She laughingly said it was no problem. Through all of this we were STILL in the creek attempting to get out. Once we finally emerged, we were still laughing as I said we were closer now than ever before.
We ran the 1k loop 4 more times giving us a total of 10 creek crossings in 3 miles. By the time we finished, I was soaked and my cheeks were just as tired as my legs from all the laughing. I met back up with Jason (who had joined me for a creek crossing while passing me during the race), and some other friends as we laughingly shared our experiences (along with the special bonding moment between Julia and I). This was a first time event for many of us.
For the 8k, we’d be running a 2k loop 4 times. I figured this would mean only 8 creek crossings, but I was wrong again. This loop added in a third crossing, making for 12 total. In addition to the hay bales and the creek crossings, we had a steep decline into a dry creek where we had to hold on to a rope while making our way to the bottom. I guess we didn’t HAVE to use the rope, but I certainly did every time I got to that point in the race.
Julia ran on ahead of me during this one so I ran solo for most of the race. I still laughed during the crossings, as I ungracefully pulled myself out of the water for all the spectators to see. At one point, a really tall man crossed at the same time I did, causing me to fall BACK into the water when I was almost out.
I finally completed my fourth and final lap of the 8k and ran through the finishing shoot once again. I’d had a blast, but I was glad to be done. My legs and feet were tired from running on uneven terrain and from pulling me out of the water again and again and again. I was covered in grass, water, and dirt from head to toe, with a few little scratches here and there…and it was all worth it.
I got to see several good running friends, run a very different sort of race, get a good workout, and I even received a Fleet Feet Gift Certificate for 2nd place in my age group. I felt like I’d been on a little adventure and that maybe I was hardcore now or something.
It was another good day of running for which I thanked God as Jason and I drove home for a well deserved bowl of Frosted Mini Wheats.