Thursday, January 28, 2010

A view from the trail

In my last blog I wrote about the slow process of getting "there" from "here." It has been a slow, year long recovery for me to begin the steps back to physical strength and mental calmness. With a couple of extended mileage weeks under my shoes (and toes) I am catching glimpses of where I am heading. As my mileage increased over the last few weeks I began to notice a sharpened mental acuity and "in the moment" feeling that is such a welcome friend in the dead of winter. I also noticed that my body is responding better to the demands of longer mileage runs. What a wonderful feeling to get 8, 10, 12 miles into a run and have that serenity feeling come over there is NO other place you'd rather be than right there on the trail with your buddies- or in my case-buddies and Peg.

An old Ultra running joke...."what are you running from??" And that's just not it is it? For me it's trying to be right in the moment on the trail with the sun slowly setting or rising, the feeling of your breath-now moderated and even-slowly rising and falling with the curves and hills of the trail. To feel the dirt, rocks, mud, water, ice, and snow under your feet is a really magical experience if you focus on being where you are right in the moment. Not thinking about the ice cold beer waiting at the end of the run, or worrying about bills, or kids, or work, or.....aches and pains of your body. A wise UR said "pain is mandatory, suffering is optional."

What am I running from? Nothing. I'm running to the moment where I am totally one with the trail. Step by step feeling the wind and sweat. Step by step experiencing the pain and letting it be there. Step by step dancing your way down the dark path with your love, your friends, and your compatriots in the big game.

Step by step.

(photo taken October 3rd, 2008 at inaugural Grindstone 100. Mile 85 at sunset with a view west to the Piedmonts)

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