Submitted by Guest Blogger Beverly Prine
As a resident of the High Desert for over twenty years, I often enjoy taking long walks along the California Aqueduct Trail. During the summer months, early morning is the best time to walk the Aqueduct, aka “AD.” Walking with someone is ideal, just in case of trouble. The “Buddy-System” we learned in kindergarten applies to walkers and runner of all ages.
Since June of this year, I have started running, which is not any faster than my walking pace, but it works a different muscle-group than walking. Running with a buddy, or two or three, is even better than walking with a buddy. I got the chance to meet some running-buddies at the Ranchero Underpass Opening Ceremony on June 29th, 2013. At first I was intimidated when I was approached by an extremely fit young woman who introduced me to her group called “Mom’s Run This Town,” also known as MRTT. This individual was an experienced marathon runner (that’s 26 miles) and invited me to look up her group on Facebook.
I joined the Facebook group, “High Desert, CA Moms RUN This Town,” but a few more weeks passed before I actually made the commitment to meet up at a running event. This first event I attended was a run around Malibu Park and surrounding area on a Saturday morning. It was a nice surprise to see a familiar face, and meet six new people. One of the new friends I met runs at my pace, and we quickly became running buddies. I am so glad to have found someone who is like me, a beginner, and who is working at increasing miles and pace. Some in the group took off fast and ran the five miles in record time. Others ran and walked and finished before Mar and I, who brought up the rear of the group.
Not long after, Mar and I met many from the first run at the Maple AD trail, and I was glad to have company on “my” home-trail. The almost-five miles from Maple to Main Street on the trail of the aqueduct was very pleasant, as we watched ducks and ducklings in the water, and heard a coyote cry in the distance.
Mar and I have been running together three times a week for the past two months, and we are enjoying our progress. There are days when I need her encouragement to get going, and there are other days when she needs me to push her. This morning, for instance, we ran my favorite trail, which is the Ranchero Underpass. We start at Ranchero Road and 7th Avenue, and run east toward Danbury Avenue. On the return from Danbury back to 7th, I was about to quit and give up, but she was at my side, giving me words of encouragement to keep going.
At the beginning of each run at five-thirty in the morning, before the rooster crows, we love to look up at the stars and constellations still visible before sunrise. During the time of the Super-Moon last week, we marveled at its beauty, as we chased the setting of the moon on the return run, from Danbury back to 7th. The bonus about this running route is the trains that pass us overhead as we run. The Hesperia Airport is nearby, and sometimes we watch helicopters and airplanes land and take-off.
The highlight of September was running with MRTT at the Hesperia Days 5K, and Mar and I both improved our time, coming in at thirty-five minutes and thirty-eight minutes, respectively. I am no longer intimidated by others who are faster. The whole point of running is to get off the couch and get outside, exercise and get moving. The bonus is meeting new friends who encourage and inspire each other, not only in running but also in life in general. This quote from George Sheehan at Runner’s World sums it up: “It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.”