Thursday, January 01, 2009

The Next Lap

Okay, to use a rather corny connection to the sport - at midnight we finished up the lap that was 2008. And, now, we are onto our first steps of 2009.

Like most everyone, I get excited about the turn of the new year. It's much like the view out my window this morning. Crisp and clean. Fresh snow without any tracks or marks. A fresh canvas to decorate any way that you see fit.

After the last 15 to 18 months, I'm especially excited for this new year. I'm healthy. My fitness is improving steadily. I'm excited about running and racing. The new year is ripe with potential; and, I'm going to make every attempt to return as closely as possible to my old form.

It's also exciting that a new year of statewide racing is upon us. Sure, the first few months are a little slow; but, in the next 10 weeks or so, we'll be off and running (literally). The first race of the new year will take place in a few hours in Thompson Falls with their annual even. (There is Yellowstone Rim Runners new year's day run at Riverfront Park. But, that's really more of a gathering of club member to open the year with a social run and some hot cocoa and treat afterwards.)

Speaking of the Rim Runners' event - As many of you know, I spent over 17 years in Billings and was a member of the Rim Runners throughout that time. In 2006 and 2007 (and maybe even 2005), I had some spectacular runs on the first morning of the new year. Kelly Fulton was presnt at each of these; and, at various times we had Dave Coppock, Alan King, Sam Hartpence, Jarred Rensvold and/or Zach Hunter. We would normally show up an hour ahead of the rest of the crew (hangovers and all) and head out for a long run. Our typical course would have us heading out towards Briarwood golf course; and, eventually we would make our way onto the secluded hills of the back nine holes. And, that's where the magic would happen.

We would see deer and turkeys. We would zip up and down the hills on a soft carpet of snow. We would stop and make the occasional snow angel. We would tell stupid stories and say "Holy crap it's cold" for the umpteenth time. But, the best part of the day would come as we turned south and headed back to the clubhouse area.

On those years, the fairways were blanketed with fresh, light snow (sort of like the "cold smoke" powder variety of epic ski days). The sun was low in the the bright, clear-blue sky. The result was a carpet of glitter and sparkle as the rays of light bounces off the snow crystals. Every time that it happened it was like seeing it new for the first time. And the best part - I got to share it with my pals in our loosely formed Sunday Morning Run Club.

Here's to hoping that we all have a year filled with magical runs.

The Muddy Buzzard

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