Okay, so the day after Christmas Jason's cousin's husband asked me if I wanted to join a group of runners that morning to run Lake Mountain and I thought, "Sure! That sounds fun." He said it would be 8.3 miles and probably in the snow. In my mind I was thinking we would be on a trail by the lake, it would be flat, and I could go back any time I wanted. Also, I was thinking this group of runners I'd be meeting would be men AND women and all about the same type of runners as me.
BOY WAS I WRONG! :) hahaha!
I wake up on the 26th, get all ready to go, jump in the car and as I'm pulling out of the driveway I see that it is snowing quite a bit and I think, "What in the world am I doing? Should I text Kameron and say forget it or should I just go? Okay, I'll go!"
When I get to the place we are all meeting I realize I am the ONLY female and they have me jump in the car with all of them to drive to the trail. After listening to the two runners in the front seat for a little while I realize these guys are DIE HARDS and run all over the place. Kameron leans over and tells me that one of them finished second place in a 60 mile race - sheesh-a-momma. I then see the guy in the passenger seat look back and me and notice that I only have regular running shoes and no spike thingies to put on them. He says, "are you just running in that? You'll probably be okay" Aaaaa!
So we get to the start and I realize we are literally running all the way to the top of the mountain and I no longer have my car with me so there is no turning back. It's snowing more than ever and as we start running we are in snow up to our mid-calves. Kameron and I begin before the others to get a head start and I quickly realize this is going to be one of the most challenging runs of my life!
We broke trail for the first 2.5 miles at least and by then the snow was almost to our knees. All I had were my running pants, ankle socks, and running shoes and it was COLD! I kept pushing though and in my mind I kept thinking "There is NO way I am going to give up and make these guys have to wait on the 'girl'!!!" I pushed and pushed and kept going until I realized that it would probably be easier if I let them cut trail for a little while. WOW! What a difference. I let two of them pass me (there were 8 of us total) and it was so much easier running in their path! I couldn't believe that I had been the one breaking trail for so long (and I think they couldn't believe it either)!
As we got closer to the top, the wind was BRUTAL!!!! It was piercing cold and was so strong. I wanted to give up so bad, but I just couldn't (call it pride, if you want, but I call it shear determination!). 4 of the men decided not to continue and I didn't realize that until later. I just kept pushing and then I heard the leader of the group yell out my name and say, "Mindi! You're almost there - keep comin'" There was one other guy behind me so I thought, "You can do this Mindi, just push through it and get to the top." Well, the top didn't come and didn't come and I thought, "how in the world am I going to make it?!"
Finally I rounded the last bend and saw the steep, off trail, incline I had to go up to reach the top and I just started running. The other guy behind me joined right in and we made it to the top with the two die hards that were already there. I was SO thankful I made it to the top and took a couple pictures to celebrate. The problem was that now I knew I had to get back down and these guys were all saying how that's their favorite part and they were going to cruise down as fast as they could. They assured me I would fall a lot, but it would be fun. Then one of guys noticed I did not have any type of leg warmer on and he looked a little alarmed and said, "I hope you don't get frostbite!" WHAT?!!!! He said he had had it before from one of his runs and it hurt like crazy and took over a month to heal. That slightly freaked me out! I tried to act like it didn't, but I knew I had four more miles to run in the deep snow and that would not lessen my chance of getting frostbite. I remember wishing that someone could just take me down the mountain on a snowmobile or something so that I could just be done, but I knew that wasn't possible. As we started our descent I started praying. I prayed and prayed for help to get down the mountain and not be the last one and also for my legs to be protected from frostbite. I was genuinely concerned about my legs and it's all I could think about.
The run down was pretty fun and we were cruising, but because I am not normally a trail runner I felt like I had to concentrate so much so that I wouldn't roll an ankle or anything. I ran and ran until I finally made it to the bottom and I am happy to say that 3 of the runners finished after me.
I was applauded by the other runners and one of them told me I was the only woman he knew crazy enough to run what they had just run! WOW! I AGREE! That was crazy and if I had known it would have been like that I do not think I would have said yes to going. Having said that, though, I am VERY glad that I went!! I proved to myself that "I CAN DO HARD THINGS!" and I am thankful to Heavenly Father for helping me finish and blessing my legs to be safe from frostbite.