In the past weeks it has occurred to me that the life I live is blessed & with all of the passions I am fortunate enough to pursue, it is lavish.
The holiday/christmas season has it's way of displaying & enticing people into luxuries they do not have, but could. I admit that this time of the year habitually stirs in me the desire for things I want & for the most part do not need.
Step outside of the now evergreen & holly berry swagged stores, onto the trail & into the solitude of the woods where no advertising is being shoved down my throat and those inklings of discontentment fade. Where running through the steady rain, slipping on leaves atop of mud & the fear of deer hunters not noticing your florescence are instantaneously made worth it come sunrise.
Thus was the chronicle of last weekend's trail run with Maggy & Dannette (the newest recruit).
We began at 4:30am headlamps on, it was so pitch black with clouds of rain that we needed to use the small handheld flashlight too. Our breath fogs the air casting a haze in front of the lamps.
About 2miles into the run we come across a skunk, pause & with boisterous conversation encouraged it to move on so we could continue. Thankfully we do not get sprayed.
The route I mapped took us through areas of rolling prairie & sections of wooded single track.
5miles in the rain is now constant. While somewhat peaceful and serene falling onto the leaf encrusted ground below there were moments when it sounds like someone was following behind us. Logic says "That is because the rain is pooling on the tree branches before falling down in large droplets." Imagination says "drunk deer hunter? Beer, guns & dark, not a good combination." Logic wins.
Mile 7, avoiding swampy sections of the trail is not worth breaking stride. Our shoes sound like the agitate cycle on most washing machines, water sloshing with every step. The air temp is in the mid 30's so wet feet are less than ideal, but bearable.
Mile 8, the sun is just barely starting to rise. Several portions of the trail bring us close to gravel roads & we can see hunting rigs pulled off to the side of it. With the echo of a few sporadic gunshots we make the decision to pick up the pace a little bit. Two miles left to go.
As we pass one of the lakes the photographer in me surpasses the runner. So worth it.
We finish the route at the frigid seat porta-johns: a welcome sight. 10miles before dawn. Not fast, not particularly comfortable, but none-the-less enjoyable.
The journey to the Lean Horse 100 , 274 days from now, will have many trials and adventures. This was just one of them. I look forward to all of it, even as I sit here stiff & a bit sore from a week of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, crossfit & barefoot running all of which will hopefully make me stronger for the most challenging race I have set out for yet.
You have lavished upon me a beautiful life. Feet that have run literally thousands of miles. Lungs that have breathed the hot, humid & crisp air on countless swims, rides, runs, grapples & yes, even front collar chokes. Eyes that have been humbled by views of such splendor that words fail to express it.
Every mile & every hour you are there with me. You know when my legs are so swift that they do not feel like my own, I relish in that. You know when my legs feel like lead, my upper body weighed down like mortar fighting for each push forward. You know when LVL2 class makes everything I learned in LVL1 disappear like a shaken etchasketch. My constant companion.
May all of your creation praise You. Including me. Training brings me pleasure & spurs me on to praise, to You oh Lord God. Thank you for it all & for family and friends that while they may think me crazy at times still continue to ask how it is going.