Kissing trees

Oh, I had a really bad run on Wednesday. And yet it was also a really great run. Let me explain.

I’m tentatively thinking of running the Resurrection Ultra 50-miler this year and have been doing back-to-back trail runs, not really long distance at this point so much as agonized distance, you know, a lot of gnarly hills and bad trails conditions: mud, rocks, roots higher than my ankle. And did I mention hills?
Tuesday I tackled Turnagain Arm Trail, in all of its muddy glory, and felt strong most of the way, even on the steep and frequent hills. So I went back on Wednesday and did it all over again, and I just wasn’t feeling it, you know? My legs were heavy and my back sore from lifting weights the evening before and I mistakenly wore a new pair of shoes without the proper lacing, and they flopped against my ankles with each leap over each rock, and I was soon irritated and hungry and discouraged and muttering to myself… you get the picture.
My floppy-laced new shoes! Don’t they look embarrassingly clean and tidy?
Mostly, though, I was disappointed to realize that I wasn’t in as good as shape as I had assumed. Running for two weeks on mostly paved trails and streets in Philly and then last week on paved Coastal Trail, I had deceived myself into thinking I was stronger and faster than I actually am.
Then I hit the trails and the frequent and never-ending hills and bad footing put me in my place.
Yes, this is part of the trail.
On the way back, after straggling up the Rainbow hill (over a 1.25 miles of relentless incline and switchbacks), I seriously thought of stopping and calling MM to pick me up. But I knew I’d hate myself for quitting so I struggled on and then, I don’t know, I somehow ran right past that shitty mood and started feeling happy and glorious and oh-I’m-running-on-beautiful-trails-and-everything-is-perfect. And it got so bad that I stopped to kiss a few trees, just because I could (and because no one else was around).
I felt so thankful to be back running, you see. Last year I barely hit the trails, due to a combination of a fall that messed up my knee and a brutal work schedule, and the year before I injured my foot mid-summer and was out through winter. So yes, even a tortured and agonizing run is better than sitting on my ass, watching movies and feeling terribly sorry for myself, which I’m ashamed to say I happened more than I’d like to admit.
But being injured makes a person really, really thankful to be running again, and times be damned, just putting one foot in front of the other and gliding over a trail can be enough to bring tears (the good, happy kind of tears) to the eyes. And maybe, just maybe, stop along the way and kiss a few sturdy (and sexy!) spruce and birch trees.
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4 thoughts on “Kissing trees

  1. EB

    Aaaah, that picture of the mountains is so wonderful! Definitely more delightful than my office view. Yes, injury brings a renewed sense of perspective to runs, good or bad. Glad to see you back at it! 🙂

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  2. Ray Hafen

    Hi there, saw you posted a comment on FastCory. If your preparing for Respass ultras in August, you may want to check out the Mr Miles 24 hours of Alaska in Mat-Su in June. It's run on a relatively level trail on 4.5 mile loop. You can run the 6, 12, or 24 hour. Dave Johnston and Andrea Hambach are the race directors and they do an outstanding job with their races. Google Willow running company.
    Run on!

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  3. Cinthia

    Thanks, EB! I work in an area with almost no windows so I don't get very nice views in the day, either. Can't wait until the snow melts off the mountains and I can begin to climb. Cheers and happy running.

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  4. Cinthia

    Wow, thanks so, so much, Ray! I checked out the Mr. Miles race and am very interested, even though I've already signed up for the Mayor's Marathon the following week. But why not do them both, eh? (I would probably die attempting both, lol.) P.S. I think I may have interviewed you for a story on the bike relay race years ago when I worked for ADN, though it could have been someone else; it was quite a few years ago. Cheers and enjoy the spring. The trees are about to bud and things are going to get really, really green. P.S. Are you doing the Mr. Miles??

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