May 13, 2012 I stood at the base of the mountain, just past the slippery rocky stream bed, about a half mile into what seemed like a vast, foggy rain forest right out of South America....This is in SE Oklahoma mind you...I have a vivid imagination! It WAS raining and it IS a thick forrest. I couldn't see with my glasses on or off. It was to be my first really long really rugged trail run- 4 hours. 2 hours out and back...by myself. I was signed up to do Leadville in a few months and had virtually no REAL trail running under my belt. 1 mile in I turned around and called my husband to come back and get me. The storms scared me, the trail scared me, but most the unknown scared me. I emailed Eric and told him it was raining too hard and I couldn't see well enough to navigate. His response? "You could go out later after the rain lets up or even at night and use a head lamp"...wha tha? "Shit" I thought. I knew I had to go back. However, there was not a snowballs chance in hell I was going out there at night. Sooo the very next morning, mother's day, the adventure began anew. I did it. And I did it again and again several times before leadville. I got better at it and learned a lot but it was always hard. I learned a lot about fighting and flowing and a little about spiders and snakes. Prior to Leadville I was always intimidated by that trail, by running by myself in the mountains. I struggled with fighting rocks and roots and trying to learn to flow. This past Saturday was my first trip back to Ouachita Trail since finishing Leadville in August. It was amazing! It was foggy and raining, just like that day in May. But this time there was only joy and anticipation. I couldn't wait to get out there... and I didn't just flow over those rocks and roots I flew (or at least it felt like it!). I ran switchback after switchback that previously reduced me to a walk. My legs felt strong and footing was confident despite the slippery wet rocks. There was no fighting....and no snakes...a real bonus!