It’s a mother, daughter thing!
When I think about my trail running experiences, I forget about the cute New Balance shoes, the unmentionable places I have scars from rubbing Gu packages, and the gallon of blood lost to rocks, roots, and lovely blisters. Instead I think of my training partner: the person who introduced me to running and the one I can count on to push me when needed. She is the person who is on the trail along side of me on every run: my mother, Brenda Campbell. My mom is forty-six years old, has been a runner all my life, has run over 15 marathons and has just completed her first ultra-marathon. Without her, my love of running and introduction into ultra-running would never have happened.
I evolved into the runner I am because of her encouragement, through each new “longest” distance, and running me into the finish of my first marathon. She is there every morning sharing the pre-run peanut butter and is there next to me on the couch during our 10th viewing of Unbreakable.
My love of ultra-running surfaced through blogs, books, and fellow ultra-runners. When my mom decided to look into running her first ultra, we dove, or rather plunged into the world of Ultimate Direction vests, hydration packs, and Trail Runner Nation podcasts. We watched Anton Krupicka run through the High Country and followed devotedly to the IRunFar Twitter feed. Thanks to trailandultrarunning.com, we were introduced to the elite runners’ race reports, learning about S! Caps, and the importance of a good headlamp.
As my mom’s ultra, the North Face Endurance Challenge 50 mile race in Wisconsin was three weeks away, my duty as pacer changed to participant. We ran every step together, discussing which of her pre-school students are her favorite this year at mile 15 and cursing the hills at mile 40. Though she twisted her knee and was reduced to a walk/run the last 3 miles, I met each step right along side her, supporting her to the end. During that race, our roles changed; I was the one guiding her, pushing when she wanted to stop, just like she was there two years ago pushing me during my first 8 mile run. I would never been a runner or an ultra-runner without her, and I cannot wait to continue onto the next trail with her by my side.