I met up with the group for a Saturday morning run on January 3, 2009. I knew I was not up to the 20 miles they were going to run but I desparately needed to run and to connect to the outside world. I like to call the group trail runs "Trail Therapy". I was anticipating a nice run on the trails and the commaraderie of the group. I knew I was slow and they talked about running slow so I thought I would be fine until the turn around. I started last and kept up for a few miles but quickly realized their pace was faster than I was prepared for and so I dropped back into my slower pace. They checked on me a couple of times but I told them I was fine and going to turn around soon. They dissappeared into the cold woods, laughing and talking. I settled down into my thoughts.
I feel good now in my own turtle of a pace, no conversation to concentrate on or participate in. I thought that was why I came out but I think I needed the isolated trail run today, a different kind of trail therapy, I guess. The trails were colorless and lifeless like one would expect in January. There was a coldness and a dampness to the air. There wasn't much to the smell in the air, just a dormant woodsiness. There were sounds of far away traffic and the rustle of small animals scittering around in the underbrush. I felt dead inside and the tightness in my chest wrenched at my soul.
I began to think about how my life was upside down now. So many qustions and so much work lies ahead for me now. I am not against work but concentrating on the tasks that lie ahead become so overwhelming that just getting through somehow become difficult. Running is my therapy just like it is to so many of us. For those of you who just don't get why we run, there is an inner peace that helps us overcome the adversities that life throws at us. Maybe it is why I have remained sane and strong through so many of the rough times in my life and there have been a few. I am alone now on the trail and I start to feel better. Running helps a lot.
The tears roll down my cheeks and the pain inside me subsides a little bit. I focus on me and what I want. I want to be happy. I want my children to be happy. Society somehow finds a way to dictate our choices in life. The mental barriers become too much for me now as my slow run fades into a walk. I am struggling with the run just like I am struggling in life. The trail twists and winds and the mud is thick and sloppy. My feet slide around under me and I struggle to keep balance on the muddy slant of the trail.
I begin to make the analogies again between trail running and life. I see now that sometimes we get lost on the trails as I have done in the past. Sometimes we run the same loop a few times before we realize we are going in circles and not advancing towards our destination. Sometimes we take a wrong turn or a wrong trail and run for awhile before we realize we have gotten off track and on to some tangant that leads us in a different direction than our destination. Sometimes the trails become so undestinguishable that we lose sight of where they are and wonder off. The thorny bushes scratch the skin on our legs and the brush can get thick at times. We struggle just to get through it and once we do we then have to find our way back to the trail.
I have found myself alone on the trail but I knda like it. I love the group runs but sometimes there is a sense of self when you run alone. I'm back on the trail and fighting to finish the run.