June 10th was the Get Outdoors Day 6K. This race benefited the Watkins Mill Association. This one was close to heart and home. I grew up two miles from the lake that we would soon run around. It holds a lot of memories.
As has been our practice with previous races, we ran the course a couple of times before the race so we knew what we were getting ourselves into. This race was on a paved trail that circles the lake. Originally, the trail was about 4.1 miles, but it has been modified on the north end so that it is now only 3.8 miles.
Technically, the trail was much shorter in the beginning. It started at the north end of the park where there was a picnic and playground area. You could park there and then ride your bike or walk along the west side of the lake and across the dam where the trail came to an abrupt halt.
In what seemed to be 100 years to this little girl, the trail was finally completed so that it circled the lake. At that time, it was about 4.1 miles and still began and ended at the picnic/playground area.
As a teenager, several of us would ride our bikes up and down a few enormous hills, past the old church and octagon schoolhouse, and then down the gravel road and across the wooden bridge to the beginning of the trail. We would then race around the trail four times and then ride home for a total of about 20 miles. If it was extremely hot, we came prepared, and often did, take a dip in the lake.
As a younger child, I remember the church and schoolhouse being restored. One day while out garage saling with my mother, we went by the church to find that it was open and there were men working on it. We stopped and asked if we could take a look inside, and they obliged.
I rode across that wooden bridge every day on the school bus. We would hang on tight to the back of the seat in front of us in hopes that the driver would fly across the bridge at just the right speed and angle as to send us bouncing up out of our seats. There were many picnics at the picnic area with church, 4-H, and other groups. This always involved playing in the creek and under the bridge itself. We also found the creek to be a great place to work on our rock-skipping skills.
The forecast for race time was sunny and 72 degrees, so I did not wear the heavy t-shirt we were given. Instead, I wore a tech-shirt that I received at Tortoise and the Hare 5K. The race started near the parking lot for the swim beach–something else that has changed over the years. We ran in a counter-clockwise direction, which to me is the “right” direction after spending years riding my bike mostly in that direction.
We ran up and down a few shady hills and then out into the sun and across the dam. The same dam that I spent many hours fishing, but never really catching anything, with my dad. I remember one night going fishing with my dad and a neighbor. I couldn’t have been more than 8 years old. A thunderstorm suddenly rolled in and we had to quickly pack up our things and head to the truck. We packed our things up and walked across the dam as fast as we could with me in the middle, my dad holding one hand, the neighbor the other. It was so windy, that I thought I was going to blow away. There were times that I would take a step and I knew that neither one of my feet were touching the ground.
This race was not chip timed and it was 3.8 miles. I hadn’t done any 4 mile runs for a while, so I wasn’t feeling real confident about it–especially with it being as warm as it was. Also, my friend Velma was there who I hadn’t seen for a few weeks, so we spent a good part of the race walking and talking. It was all good. We had a great time, and I got to take a walk (literally) down memory lane.
Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Luke 12:27