On June 15, 2013, I rolled up to the stone gates at Percy Warner Park for the first training run of the RunWILD summer/fall training. Surgery in the winter had sidelined my running for months, and I had only been back running since April. The furthest I had run in those 2 months was 5 miles. I knew one, maybe two people that would be at the training. I had never set foot on the trails before that day. I signed up for the training just as a way to get back in shape. I had no clue what just what I was getting into. To say the training was life-changing may be a tad dramatic or hyperbolic, BUT it may also be accurate. It took one training run for me to fall in love with running on the trails. It wasn’t long before I couldn’t get enough of them. I also couldn’t get enough of the people at the training group. They were different from other runners I had met. To be honest, I had never run with a group before. I was a one woman wolfpack up until that point. After training with RunWILD, however, I came to cherish my trail runs with new friends and running partners. Even hill work was fun with this group.
There were no attitudes, no pretensions—just encouragement… and maybe the occasional smart ass remark. The 16 week training program leading up to StumpJump flew by. I couldn’t believe how fit I had become or how in love with running I was. After my first trail race, I was all in. Nothing captures the essence of trail culture like a trail race. Grit, determination, fun, brews.
I had only run the 11 miler (technically a 15 miler as I got lost). Watching the 50k runners come through the finish line, I knew that’s what I wanted to do, I wanted that to be me next year. With this year-long goal in mind, I participated in and helped with the next two RunWILD training sessions. With these training sessions came even more friends and running partners, more races, more memories that’ll last a lifetime, more goals, and more fun. Through RunWILD, my year-long goal of racing and completing StumpJump was met. Through RunWILD, this one woman wolfpack found a group she considers family. RunWILD training is so much more than a regular training program, and it lasts so much longer than the 12 or 16 weeks of the program. I love this group and am honored to help lead it, with the help of two guys and a gal who were integral in making the group so special for me through many a long run, adventure, and post-race celebration.
Consider signing up for RunWILD’s training cycle. I can’t promise that it’ll change your life, but I can promise great running partners, new friendships, 10 different trails, and a lot of fun. Don’t believe me? Check out Steven McNeal’s preview video. See you on the trails!