2016 Hoof It For Heifer 
Saturday, April 9, 2016, 06:16 PM - Race Reports
Posted by Administrator
This was the second annual trail race with my Dad. We ran Hoof It together last year as a way to reconnect with one another and decided to make it an annual event. I could continue from here by sharing with you some of the many heartfelt and joyous moments we shared on the drive out together and throughout the race as we danced through the trees. However, I feel like you might rather hear about what my dad has learned in his year of running.

During last years event my dad showed up to the race with nothing in his pockets or hands. He did not bring any form of nutrition, sodium replacement, or a hydration system. Luckily we drove separate that year because I always have extra running supplies. Open my trunk and often you will find a plethora of gels, chews, bottles, clothes, towels, and shoes. How my car still smells like new is beyond me!

As we ran last year it was apparent that he did not have a single clue as to what he needed to take or how often. He had not read anything to prepare himself. He thought running means you just put your shoes on and you go. I suppose that works ok when you are running just a few miles and run close to home like he was doing back then for his training runs. As we ran that day I tried to educate him each time I handed him a salt tablet or a gel. I know he saw and felt first hand the benefit of a little extra nutrition.

I helped him to the best of my abilities that day but I did forget one thing, my size versus his. He really could have used more calories and sodium. I was giving him the same amounts that I typically take in. This left us walking the last hour of the race. Mental notes were made and lessons were learned.

Dad and I had a ton of fun that day and walking was actually kind of nice. Be that as it may, Dad went home determined to return to the event the following year better educated and better prepared. This made my heart so happy! He was truly becoming invested in the sport that I loved and not just because he wants to have a connection but because the connection is natural and we are so much alike that he too felt that pull, that draw from mother nature to come and frolic, dance, and enjoy her beauty.

Over the months post Hoof It, Dad and I often talked about training schedules, proper nutrition, and gear. He came into Go! Running, where I worked to be properly fitted for shoes and to stock up on nutritional supplies he needed for his training. I could tell that he was really taking it all in and really wanting to learn.

My dad calls me almost every day now. It is the highlight of my morning! The night before the race I called him. Good thing because he was nervous. It is easy sometimes for seasoned runners to forget just how intimidating a new race or event can be for new trail runner. I convinced him that he had done his homework and everything would be just fine. We would make the day fun no matter how the day unfolded. He wanted to have fun but because he had been training so hard, he let me know that he really wanted to do better this year. So we made a plan to ride out together and talk about strategy.

On the way out that morning we discussed pacing and staying on top of his nutritional plan. I was so pleased to see that he had arrived with water bottle in hand and his pockets filled with enough nutrition and electrolyte replacement. He was READY!

After he took a puff off of his inhaler and a few selfies were snapped we were on our way. He did so good pacing himself and holding back a little at the beginning. He was taking in his nutrition without being prompted. He was on track for a nice PR. I would like to say that this was all enough and he got that big PR, however, we were about 8 miles into the race when he started having problems with his breathing. He has begining COPD and his much needed inhaler was in his truck back at the start/finish. He assured me he would be ok as long as he slowed to a walk. He was hoping to be able to at least run through the finish. He did not want to have to walk through, so we conserved until we were certain he could handle a little jog and picked up the pace as we came off of the trail, over the beautiful stone bridge, and up the paved hill to the grassy knoll where volunteers were waiting to present us with our finisher's medals. Dad did get a PR, maybe not as much as he wanted, but he got a lot more than a PR that day. He received confidence in himself as a trail runner, confirmation that proper training and gear do make a difference, a closer connection and bond between daddy and daughter, and a celebration of the culmination of his year of training and learning more about his new found love of running trails.

If you are like my Dad was a year ago, have a ton of questions and don’t know where to get answers please don’t be afraid to ask. Seek out a locally owned running store (you don’t have to buy anything to come get your questions answered), ask a seasoned runner, join a local running club, or read books on the subject.

If you have never had the opportunity to run this event I certainly hope the that changes in the future. Hoof It For Heifer is not only a stellar event complete with well stocked aid stations, an abundance of cheerful and extremely helpful volunteers, an incredibly well marked course (yes, it was, heads up folks) complete with magnificent views along the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Boy Scouts Trail, but also benefits such a worthy cause.

Heifer International is a non-profit, humanitarian organization dedicated to ending hunger and poverty and caring for the Earth. Since 1944, Heifer has pursued its mission by providing livestock and training in environmentally sound agriculture to those with genuine need. Recipients also agree to Pass on the Gift of one or more of their animal’s offspring and training to others in need, creating an ever-widening circle of hope.

I love their mission but that one line, that one part of their mission is very applicable to us all: “Recipients also agree to Pass on the Gift”. We can be more like Heifer even in our running endeavours. We all started from ground zero and benefited from the knowledge of others. Don’t let it end there. Adopt this giving nature, if you don’t already, and pass on that gift of knowledge you acquired to others.

Encourage a loved one, a friend, or coworker to join you on a run. If someone reaches out to you for information think about going just a step further and offering to run with them. Maybe it is just a one time run or maybe you turn it into a weekly or a monthly opportunity for giving back. However you chose to pass on your talents and your gifts it will be a blessing to both the recipient and to yourself.
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