A Trail Runner’s Love Story - Page 2
A few months passed by, and I came to check out a new great race in New Mexico, Jemez 50. The terrain and difficulty seemed to be right up my alley. When I arrived, who came to shake my hand again at a pre-race meeting but Larry.
"Don't let history repeat itself!" I joked.
The race began as always, with me holding my reins, slowly making my way through the field. Somewhere around mile 30 I came up on, yes, Larry! He was struggling with his energy and with his hip. I smiled and told him, "You better hang on to my skirt—don't let me drop you again!"
And so we went, together, talking about our running, training, the trails, as well as about our families, former spouses, our kids. We talked about how it all affected us—and how we had no clue what to do next in our lives. We laughed, we gasped, we got lost. We took hundreds of photos, and we enjoyed the views, even as we pushed forward relentlessly.
Later, he emailed me to say, “Thanks for saving my behind.”I wrote back: "Anytime you want to see Oregon, come over and I'll be your tour guide.” Two weeks later, he was on a flight to Portland.
During their trail explorations that weekend in Oregon's Columbia River Gorge, Olga and Larry met a passing hiker who snapped this photo of the two of them. Photo courtesy of Olga King.
There were many more trail meetings, because from that weekend on, we knew that our lives were meant to be together. We flew to races to run together, supported one another and explored new trails. At the 2008 Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run, I spent two weeks playing in the mountains and pacing my running partner Mike Bushwhacker. Larry visited for a weekend. I bought a map for the mountains that the course traverses, and had dozens of folks sign it for Larry. Most wrote something to the tune of, "Are you sure you know what you're getting yourself into?" This map is cherished in our home, and so is the Hardrock 100, which served as my running highlight in 2009, with Larry pacing me.
The trails have never stopped being a part of our lives. In an interview last year for iRunFar.com, I said that what brings us close is not that we met on trails. It's the fact that both of us love the trails, and what surrounds them—the solitude, the challenges, the beauty, the views, the camaraderie, the unknown, the simplicity, the nakedness of existence and sharpness of thoughts.
And so, it was no surprise that I was driving my car across the country in the heat of the summer of 2009 from Portland, Oregon, to Austin, Texas, and no surprise that the venue for our commitment to each other was, you guessed it, local trails.
Getting hitched on the trails! Photo courtesy of Olga King.
There is nothing easy in life, but nothing that's easy is what’s remembered or cherished. We have our challenges, and we work through them, together—me, and my awesome husband, who chooses to love me as I am and thinks I am pretty awesome as well.