The day started pre-6am with a peak outside to see what the December weather had in store. Then a cup of java to get the blood circulating, dogs fed, and then myself. Eagerly waiting for day break to make sure the dark gray clouds were really disappearing just like the weather man on TV said they would. As soon as the dogs were loaded, cold weather running attire donned, we were on our way to one of our favorite trails.
It was surprisingly warm out for the second week of December, but not warm enough to go without a toque. Gloves were optional, as I usually stash them in my pockets a mile into the run. The dogs were excited to be out and about and eagerly pulled ahead, dragging me along until I told them to slow to my normal pace. Running two dogs seems like a crazy hard task, but my pup’s line out directly in front of me, side by side as close to one another as can be and in total synchronized rhythm not caring what is around them, just in line to run. I love that my dogs can run so well together and with me. At first they are excited and want to run faster than my body can in a safe manner, they soon settle and listen to my commands, much like two sled dogs listen to their handler behind them. My two don’t care who we pass, if it’s another dog, child, slow person, or anything, they are on a mission to keep going straight. I love it.
This morning’s run was perfect, the weather looked promising, wasn’t too cold, no wind to speak of, not too peopley (my made up word for too crowded), yet I was definitely trying to out run the impending rain. The dark clouds over the sound and over distant islands loomed, and the daunting look they gave forced a fast pace for a while.
The trail of choice today had two options, clockwise, or counters clockwise. Both directions offer their own dimensions of difficulty. To go clockwise, means you will have steep downhill in the first mile, then rolling hills until the dreaded switchbacks about half way, then a slightly up hill and flat route for the last two miles. Whereas, counter clockwise the first two plus miles in flat and perhaps a slight downhill, until you hit the switchbacks that are noticeably less steep doing them this way. Then, rolling hills, flat then the very steep grade straight hill for more than a quarter mile that kills progress to the fastest of runners. I chose clockwise today. That way I could jog out the last two miles and not feel defeated by the time I reached my truck. Plus… if it did rain, I was somewhat protected by trees if I wanted to hide or out run the rain.
Running frees my mind. It is therapeutic in a sense. I am definitely not the fastest runner, nor do I have good form that I would acclaim any fame if seen. I run for me. I run for health and the relaxation it creates in my mind. I take my dogs because, well, they enjoy it too and being in the moment with nature, my dogs and having no worry about anything, except the rain is a freeing feeling. I also like the security of having two large dogs, one that is a German shepherd, the other a Lab that although super friendly, both are aloof to anyone unless I tell them to say hi. I trust my dogs anywhere I go, and therefore take them as much as I can.
Running as of late has been a blessing as I am recovering from a shoulder surgery that has caused some limitations on my activities. I cannot lift weights as of yet, nor mountain bike. So, running is it. My shoulder hurts on runs still, especially if I allow my arm to swing too much. So, again, my form may look odd, but in reality, it is mine and I am ok… nobody is judging, and if they do I don’t really give a damn.
This morning’s run was rejuvenating after yesterday’s torrential down pour, yet, I felt I was still trying to out run the rain.
As I run my mind is free, free from worry, free from any stress of the holidays, school, shoulder surgeries, even the impending thought of rain, or the looming dark clouds that seemed within reach just across the bay. Sharing head nods or good mornings and smiles with passer’s bye, my mind reclaims the previous set, peace. Each time I am out for a trail run I am continually astonished that there are not more folks out walking, running or just seemingly being happy outdoors. As that thought crossed my mind this morning I felt myself laugh out loud at the thought and just shook my head, happy that there are not more people. I find in the busy world we all live in, constantly attached to our phones, computers, social media sites each day, getting outside is paramount in the well being of creating calmness. My calm happens to be trying to out run the rain.
As the 4 miles are chipped away this morning a flurry of thoughts enter and some leave, some are stored in my memory bank. Today’s thought, “gotta out run the rain” suddenly changed to “ so what if it does rain? It’s only temporary. I will be back at my truck, warm up, dry off, go home and shower, get dry, it’s only temporary, so why stress of even that?
All too often we think we are stress free, yet we create our own trivial stress, and today I caught myself red handed stressing over a damned dark cloud with a precluded idea that it might rain and I was trying to out run the rain. For what reason? Who knows? I surely won’t melt, nor wither, and you know, running in the rain always had brought a smile to me before, why not this time, IF it does rain? So, the stress disappeared, I centered myself behind my dogs who were oblivious to my dilemma and were doing what I should have been doing the entire time, being present in the moment. The last couple miles was just that. I noticed the smell of the woods, damp, yet fresh from the rain of the night. The morning birds were chirping and flying around. The trains were coming in both directions on the tracks that follow the path. The ferry in the bay made it’s way across the passage with ease and the sun simmering off the flat water creating a glare even a mile away. The golf course is looking especially eloquent in it’s winter resting state as it is closed for a few months. In the moment is where we belong, it’s where freedom lies. No need to try to out run the rain !