Reppin’ for the team

  • This was printed in October of 2014 in The Madera Tribune, a newspaper in Madera, California. This was the 73rd installment of my weekly column, Mind Over Miles.

Good things come to those who believe, better things come to those who are

patient, and the best things come to those who don’t give up.

I read that quote (author unknown) on Facebook this week and it couldn’t have

resonated more with me. Since I began running almost two years ago, I have

learned the true meaning of persistence. Great things don’t come easy, and it’s

the people who believe in themselves and don’t give up that reap the benefits. I

see those qualities in the elite athletes who live in the Valley.

On Sunday I ran the final race in a three half-marathon series put on by Sole 2

Soul, a Valley running company. The first was Heavenly Half in Auberry in

February, the second was Hell of a Half in Exeter in August, and the final race

was Judgment Day in Bakersfield.

This race was significant not only because it completed a series, but because

when I toed the starting line, I was wearing something that I had only pictured in

my dreams — a team jersey.

Last month I was asked to be a part of the San Joaquin Running Team, which is

a group of dedicated runners who organize local races and strive to build the

local trail running community.

I’ve participated in several local races and I’ve always admired the athletes who

wear jerseys featuring their sponsors and running teams. I think of the hard work

it must have taken to get those sponsorships and it always made me want to try

harder and get faster. I wanted to be good enough to sport someone’s jersey.

I couldn’t believe it when the SJR race director, Nathaniel Moore, asked me to be

part of the team. Here was a group of four men who are all speedy runners and

seasoned ultramarathoners, and they were asking me, a woman who has only

run three full marathons, to join them in wearing SJRT gear? Feeling unworthy

but elated, I jumped at the chance.

The only stipulation for being on the team was to continue to be an example of

how hard work and dedication pay off — good runners aren’t necessarily the

ones born with natural talent, they’re the ones who work hard. That, I can

definitely do.

The jersey helped me stay mentally tough during the challenging, hilly Judgment

Day 13.1-mile race. I felt like I had to represent the team, so I couldn’t give up for

even a second. I pushed myself to a PR of 1:35:38 and won my age division.

The beauty of San Joaquin Running is that it promotes local trail running, which I

adore. You don’t have to travel far to enjoy the wilderness, run on challenging

terrain and catch some breathtaking views.

The San Joaquin River Trail is a combination of existing hiking, mountain biking

and equestrian trails that will join new and reconstructed trails to form a 73-mile

path from Friant Dam to the Pacific Crest Trail in the High Sierras, according to

the SJRT Council. My favorite part of the trail begins at the dead-end of Sky

Harbour Road near Millerton Lake, a short drive from Madera. I encourage

walkers and runners to give the trail a try.

SJR has hosted two events on the river trail so far, the SJRT Half Marathon and

the one-mile Pincushion Hill Climb. My first ultramarathon, the SJRT 50-miler, (a

50K, or 31-mile, option is also offered) is coming up on Nov. 15. Check out

sanjoaquinrunning.com for details on upcoming races.

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