Nothing better than trail runningOrgan Trail Run

The adventure of running on a trail is hard to beat and the Organ Trail Run gave me the opportunity to step on a new path. This run took place in the woods of Greensfelder Park. Greensfelder is near Six Flags Amusement Park and our course started off like a roller coaster with a long swift descent landing in a lovely valley. We ran for quite a while down in the flat basin area and I found myself singing praise songs to God in my head as I trotted along nestled in the woods. The melodies popped in my head as I looked around at all the beauty surrounding me. The ground was covered with leaves and a few dwarf plants remained green defiantly resisting the approach of winter. Much of the trail was gravel and appeared to be frequented by horses which left piles along the path creating an interesting obstacle course. What goes up must come down and in this case what goes down must come up. As I ran in the flats I found myself wondering what the climb out would be like. Would it be straight up like our descent? Nope, turns out we zig zagged up a series of switchbacks.

A beautiful day for a runUp ahead of me on the trail were 4 or 5 guys running single file and a couple of them were wearing easy to follow bright red shirts. Up we ran and popped out on a parking lot road and that’s when I faintly heard bits of their conversation with words like: wrong turn and ran extra. Hmm I guess we shouldn’t have ignored that big red “X” marked on the trail. As I ran to get back on the right trail I could see one of the gal’s I had passed around the first mile running on the correct trail way ahead of me. After all that work she just zipped in front of me. Thus began the mental dialogue, do I run harder and pass her? Do I have enough trail time left to close the gap? Why do I have to run faster when I deserve to be ahead of her? Can I do it? I’m embarrassed to admit it but for a moment I just stopped and took a few walking steps in defeat. No I didn’t have it in me to surge to catch her and pass her, I wanted to give up. But wait, a voice in my head started shouting “You deserve to beat her, you worked hard for a long time, are you really going to just give up?”

Two old winnersI picked up my feet and ran towards what seemed an impossible quest surprisingly closing the gap little by little. As the finish line came into view I saw that I could pass her but wondered what kind of battle it would be, would she counter attack? Nope, I ran up beside her and she kind of casually says “Did you follow the guys and run extra?”

“Yep” I replied and scampered ahead of her to the finish chute. Turns out I came in first in my age group and my friend Rick also took first in his age group. A nice win for us two oldies.

The Organ trail run is supported by Team Transplant St. Louis. The race informational flyer shared that this is a “group of inspirational athletes who…received a life-saving organ transplant (Recipient), …gave the gift of life by donating the organs of a loved one (Donor Family), …or personally donated an organ (Living Donor).” After the race I met a guy who had one of his Mom’s kidneys. His Mom was there volunteering at the race and he joked that she sometimes threatened to take her kidney back. There was a mix of organ donors and recipients running and volunteering in the race. There were family members of successful and  not successful transplants volunteering. This romp through the woods introduced me to a community of people joined by organ transplants and I was inspired.