Running With The Night Runners

an excerpt from “Because of My Guardian Angels”
by Francesca Alicea

Running with the GP Night Runners came with many blessings as well as challenges. I’d only been running road races, before joining this group of trail night runners. So understandably  I was not familiar with the trails, safety or the rules of the trails.  All this was overwhelming and too much to try to master at one time.   Never mind the fact that I have a poor sense of direction.

I learned quickly that whenever I did veer off the given course all I had to do was to listen for Amber’s distinctive laugh. That laugh was very comforting to me. Once I heard it, I knew I was not far from the runners and it led me back to them.

Not only was she my guiding light, but she always made time to listen to my stories about the ups and downs of my running feats as well as my defeats.  She’s a very good listener, a quality worthy of admiration!

Known for the one who got easily lost, I recall her telling me, “Don’t go anywhere by yourself young lady”. I liked the part of “young lady”, so I might have gotten lost on purpose on occasion just to hear those words.

When I ran the Ridgecrest 30K, I got lost and did some extra mileage.  Amber’s exact words upon hearing that I got lost were, “I knew it”.

The runs and hikes to the top of Mount Baldy as training for “The Run to The Top” race will forever remain etched in my mind.  I recall once on the way up, we were trying to scramble for songs to sing to make the time go by as we inched our way to the Summit. For the life of me, I still think that the elevation just messed with me so badly, that I just could not think of one single song. Amber thought of many. She was leading the hike as well as the chorus. I was a little jealous.

I’m not quite sure if it was the elevation, exhaustion or hunger, but when we arrived at the Summit that day, we were all a little childish; we were blowing bubbles, posing for some silly photos, and just telling ridiculous stories. Truly great times with remarkable company.

We were having so much fun, that we lost track of time. So, despite Amber’s precarious choice of trails, “a short cut” as she deemed it, we arrived at the restaurant a little too late for Amber to have the French Toast she so badly wanted and talked about all the way up to the Summit.

Amber you are truly a Gemstone. I will always remember your serenity and support, but most of all your exclusive laughter. “Young Lady”, you are as special as the place that’s been set aside for you in my heart.

FAN VOTING is open
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