Since I went off road, I don’t run many races in Red Deer and area.
But when I do, I always feel a tremendous sense of homecoming. Because you know, sometimes you want to run where everybody knows your name.
Last weekend was no different when I dragged my butt and my pal Laura to the Bill Nielsen Trail Race in Lacombe.
Thanks to some minor lapses of motivation and injuries, it was my first and (likely) last race this season.
It was great to see so many familiar faces from the Red Deer Runners and of course, the loyal readers of this column.
My friend Diane is the race director so I expected nothing less than the star treatment. I was not disappointed as the enthusiastic volunteers at every aid station and crossing gave encouragement and high fives to all runners and walkers.
Laura and I ran every single step of the 10-mile race together.
This was one of the few times that I ran an entire race with someone. Usually I am dropped by a much faster friend or I am desperately trying to keep a slim lead.
Now Laura and I have run together on and off over the years so we know what to expect from one another.
We are both quite chatty and share the same dry sense of humour.
This was Laura’s first time running on Lacombe’s trails, and trails in general. Like most road runners, her first question was — Are there any hills? I gracefully lied with “no” because that’s the type of friend I am.
Fortunately we were blessed with a spectacular fall day — not too cold and not too warm.
Since I am familiar with Lacombe’s trail system I was happy to offer commentary while we navigated the winding trails — There’s a tree. Look another tree. Oh, a swamp. Pretty insightful, right?
At first I was reluctant about running an entire race with a friend.
I’ve been there before when friends say “let’s just run together” then they take off and I am left eating their dust.
But then I thought about it some more. I had no chance of winning or even placing in my age group so why not just enjoy the fall day and the running community.
Recently Laura ran with me at Three Mile Bend. Perhaps I could work my trail running magic some more and get her off the asphalt for good.
By the end of the race, Laura had committed to running a 25K trail race next year.
Find Running with Rhyno on Facebook and @CrystalRhyno on Twitter. Send your column ideas, photos and stories to email@example.com