I went on a Halloween run tonight. My husband, Todd, set the course for our group, which means – expect an adventure. He doesn’t disrupt nature, but the trail will probably be hard to find and technical and steep, with a lot of of “ish”.
A couple dozen runners show up in our haunted front yard that is covered with makeshift headstones and a large wooden coffin spray-painted “Ultrarunner Cemetary”, Todd’s creation. Everyone nervously laughs in their array of costumes, hopping up and down in light layers as we wait for the run to start.
Todd’s instructions for the run are…convoluted. One girl says – “I don’t know what we’re doing!”. A guy who regularly runs with Todd replies – “Won’t matter.” Truer words were never spoken. We’re divided up into groups of five with Todd herding each group into different trail openings. “Follow the glow sticks!” I see none. But, I have a headlamp that can be seen from space. How lost can we get in an urban jungle? Moss grows on the north side of trees, right? Gotta find the North Star.
I settle into the back of the pack and chat away with another runner who apparently thinks he’s part wolf – “Dude, where’s your headlamp?”. The moon is shaded by clouds and dense trees enclose the darkness around us. He shrugs. We do a bit of our own exploring, eventually seeing lights bobbing up and down across the ravine. I give my classic location call – “Ka-KAW!”. Todd hears me – “POLO! … You good?” So good. As me and my run buddy hug-slide over fallen trees toward the lights, our trail eventually connects with a path I’ve never seen before. The trail is…amazing. Even in the dark, it’s breathtaking. I’m ear-to-ear grinning as I start bouncing up and down the path, winding around corners and switchbacks, sliding down slick sections and chasing my feet…finally popping out to a stunning view of the moon-lit river valley. Wow. Pause. Stare in awe. Wait for Wolfman to blind-feel his way toward me… “look.” I’ve missed this.
The Halloween Run reminded me of two things that fill me up with gratitude and love: trail running and my husband. Ten years ago, when I stepped on a treadmill, I never knew that my heart would quickly tire of gyms and roads, eventually craving wild, gnarly, crazy single-tracks and epic views. I had no idea that this is what would make me grin and whoop and holler. Five years ago, when Todd started running, neither of us imagined that we’d become adventurers, exploring mountains and rain forests and canyons together, encouraging each other – “you got this!” – and challenging each other’s limits – “you can do it”. Every run that Todd loves is exactly the type of run I love. Maybe his trails aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but he couldn’t have fit my preferences more if he was an app designed just for me. Yep, life really is an adventure. Even better together.