Last Saturday I met my friend Jeff for a trail run at the BuRP trails in KC. On the way there I drove through a strong storm with lightning. I like running in the rain but lightning is a different story. When we got there the rain let up a little and the lightning had move farther away so we decided to give it a shot and see how it was. The first couple of hills were slippery and I had to grab a root and pull myself up. Once we reached the tree cover the rain was light and it was very peaceful. There was only one other person that we passed and he was going the other way on a bike. He said hello and commented on us being a couple of hardy souls and was on his way. We continued on and even though some parts were really slick, I was amazed at how good I felt. About halfway in my glasses fogged up and I had to take them off and stick them in a pocket with a mental note that if I fell I would have to protect them. There is something child-like when you are running around in the mud and splashing through puddles; you might even say it feels primal. In these conditions you can not help but focus on being light on your feet and being present. I think I even commented that this beats paying someone $75 or $100 to talk about stuff you really don't want to talk about anyway.
At times we are quiet for long stretches and other times we talk about whatever comes to mind. In my opinion this is how I can tell it is a good run. The conversation flows easily but without need for a cue the runners both retreat into themselves and enjoy the peace of the surroundings. During one of the quiet sections I remember a long time goal of mine that has gotten pushed to the back burner over the years. I have a strong desire to hike the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine and when I bring this up Jeff tells me that he has hiked part of it twice. A thru hike is no big deal; all you have to do is be able to take about six months off from work and hike over two thousand miles while carrying and managing the logistics of everything you will need along the way.
Back to the run so I don’t wipe out…He asks me how I feel and if I want to continue and make it around six miles or do an out and back another way and make it around eight. I say what the heck since we are here and already muddy; we might as well do the out and back. As soon as we get around the corner we are in ankle deep water and both questioning the decision. It is tough going but we make it to the turn around and head back through the muck. At one point my feet come out from under me and I caught myself with my hands on a muddy hill. I laugh, thinking that I am really glad I decided to go with my AK race vest with the water bottle in the chest pocket and not a hand held bottle. I would not have been finishing that water if it was in a hand held for sure. As we exit the trail into the tall grass I can see that the rain has stopped but most of all, I feel good. Most of what I am wearing has a date with the garden hose after I get home.
The best medicine after a stressful week might just be a big mud puddle!
The other thing that happened this week is that I finally lost a toe nail. I have heard and read about this happening; I have had one that has turned black a couple of times but never lost one. I guess this makes me a real runner now ;)