Last night, I went to bed with thoughts of breaking in my new shoes on an early morning trail run racing through my head. This morning, though, I awoke to the sound of raindrops falling on the roof top over my head. I resigned myself to an indoor workout later in the day and settled into a chair on my front porch to read for a bit first, while the scent and sound of the gentle rain surrounded me.
As peaceful and blissful as this morning’s alternate plan was, my heart, mind, and feet still longed for the trail run that I had promised them. After a couple of hours, the rain stopped. I scanned the weather forecast, hoping for a break, and I got one. It appeared that I had a small window when the rain chances were less than fifty percent, but it was a large enough window for me to get in my long trail run. I threw that window wide open and ran.
As soon as my trail run began, though, I feared that the window was going to slam shut, but it didn’t. With each step and each breath along the winding trails, the window not only remained opened, through it came wisdom that guided me during my run. That same wisdom that I found on the trails is now ready to be used off the trails.
Beginnings can be rough; keep going. As I set off down the trail, my feet rejoiced at the support and cushioning my new shoes provided them. My right hamstring was a whole other story, as it made its painful presence known as soon as I made it up the first steep incline. I paused and stretched to try to loosen the vise like grip I felt on my hamstring, and I gingerly proceeded. I repeated this scene a couple more times and wondered if I should just retreat to my car. Instead of waving the white flag, I decided to dig my heels in, literally and figuratively. Eventually, the pain subsided, as the muscle warmed up, and I finished my run better than I began it.
Sometimes, going through something is the best way to get to where you want to go. About half way through my run, I felt the smattering of raindrops on my face. I had to make a quick decision. Should I continue on my run, or should I take a shortcut back to my car? After I weighed both options, I decided to continue running. I counted on the canopy of leaves on the trees to protect me from the rain, should it become steadier and heavier, and I knew that getting rained on was merely a minor inconvenience. Plus, if I took the shortcut, it would shortchange me, as I would miss out on the additional physical and emotional benefits that trail running provides me. I was right on all counts and definitely made the right choice.
Adjust accordingly. When I made the choice to run on, I also had to make some adjustments. The sky was still spitting rain, as I made my way across a rocky section on the trails. As soon as my right foot hit the first rock, I nearly hit the ground. Even just a little rain had made the rocks slippery, and this bobble reminded me to take this into account the rest of the way. Once I made this adjustment, I completed the run with no further incidents and stayed squarely on my feet.
Music makes everything better. Through the challenges posed by the weather and my hamstring, music provided me with some much-needed inspiration and distraction. While some people prefer to run in silence, I crave the company of my favorite songs and artists. Today, they delivered in spades, just as they have countless times in my life.
Nature is healing. I certainly do not consider myself to be particularly outdoorsy, but I am a lover of nature and the healing it has provided me. There is a sense of peace, wonderment, and clarity that the trees, dirt, rocks, hills, and the sky have provided me over the years. Nature, particularly the trails, has given me solace, both mentally and physically. When I am in nature, I feel safe, secure, and whole, and I emerge feeling stronger and more centered. It heals in a way like nothing else does.
Things tend to turn out better than expected. Despite the light rain and my painful hamstring offering me up plenty of reasons to expect the worst on my trail run, it ended up being another awesome experience. The rain stopped almost as soon as it started, and it did not return until I reached my car. My hamstring held up, and I rewarded it with soothing stretches, a hot shower, and some rest. I made the best of the situation at hand, and in return, I was rewarded indeed.
As I enjoy my afternoon off of the trails, I am so grateful that what looked like a rain out turned out to be nothing more than me getting rained on for a bit. I can handle a little rain and the bigger storms, both on and off the trails. I know that I can, because the trails and life’s trials have shown me that I can.
That’s another story . . .
Categories: That's Another Story