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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Buffalo Alley -- Redeemed

Skies were cloudy this morning for my first run since last Sunday, for my first race since mid-September. Buffalo Alley was the race today – a hilly 10k dedicated to wounded and “fallen” soldiers – an important race for me, one that I push myself to run every inch. And that I did, injured and all.

The way I see it is this: Men and women have put their lives on the line, gone through hell and back, given their lives in service to our country countless times. They have gone through unbelievable things. They ran when they didn’t feel like it, they ran when it was really, really hard, when they didn’t think they could take another step. Buffalo Alley is the race that in dedication to those soldiers, I run every inch, even the steepest of hills (and that first hill – it’s a doozy, a mile long, up, up, up).

My injury is much better, but not completely healed. Worried about a slight ache, I popped three ibuprofens before leaving this morning. I arrived early sipping a protein shake. Then I met up with fellow runner/blogger Rich before the race. What a trip! Funny, talking to someone like you know them, when you’ve never met. (I met his sister, Susie, after the race also – a delight as well!)

I held up pretty good during this trail race, though I felt that I might not beat last year’s time. Though many of the runners walked up much of that first big hill, most of them passed me afterwards. And it seemed like I didn’t pass many people after that. Running up the hills in their entirety does not conserve energy well – but it does much for the psyche : ) I didn’t lose heart, because my goal was really just to run the entire race, and to have fun.

When I say I never stopped, I mean it. I didn’t even stop to drink. I’d grab a cup while running and take a couple of sips as the water splashed all over me. I carried no camera, wore no belt, or camelback. All I brought along was my ipod, thoroughly enjoying my selections (Apocolyptica, Silversun Pickups, Kid Rock and more).

After that first big, big hill, it was series of rolling hills, though tiring, they were oh so fun. At a low-point in the elevation, a second climb began to another ridge. At the top of that ridge I expected to see mile marker four. It seemed that mile marker three was so, so long ago.

Alas, no mile marker four as we ran along the ridge. I asked the guy next to me, “Have we hit mile four yet?”

“Hell, yes!” he said. But then when I mentioned I didn’t see the marker, I noticed a little worry in his face when he remarked that, ya, he hadn’t seen one either.

And then, just after we turned to make our way down the steep descent off the ridge, there it was – mile marker FIVE! The feeling was awesome – I ran down that exceedingly steep hill in a gallop. Someone behind me said, “be careful,” and I thought to myself, oh don’t worry, I’m running slower than I want to – I know all about falls, and I ain’t fallin’.

And I didn’t fall, crossing the finish line in 1:05:29 (beating last year’s time!)

I met up with Rich and Susie after the race. And of course, I ran back to the car for a camera to capture some pics. It was great meeting these fellow runners. On the way out, I also finally met Lucinda– she’s the lady I’ve seen at so many races, dressed in black, running in combat boots, while carrying the American flag. She’s one tough gal.

Great race! Perfect weather! Good people!

Miles logged this morning, and also for the entire week: 6.22

Here’s to hoping I’m on my way back.

Fellow Bloggers / Runners (Me and Rich)

After race refreshments

Rich and Susie

Start/Finish Line


  1. You couldn't find a dorkier picture of me?

  2. Your picture is not dorky! Mine isn't exactly glamorous : ) That's the trouble with after race pics. Hope your 5k went great today.