A Chorus of Little Birdies

The feathered ones in my neck of the woods are all confused. They think it’s springtime already! Though it was fairly chilly earlier today, by the time I’d finished homeschooling the kids and was able to get out for a run, it had warmed up nicely. I couldn’t help but smile as I heard a chorus of little birdies chirping in the trees as I took off down the road. I imagined they were cheering me on, “You go girl! Keep it up!”

The shin and lower back are feeling much better — just a little bit sore. I felt sluggish the first mile, but soon after I decided to shake things up a bit when I approached the hill I refer to as my nemesis. It’s long and gradually steeper and steeper. At the foot of it, my eyes darted to the right to the golf course near my home. So many times I’ve jogged this way and thought, “Hmmm.. I wonder what it would feel like to run straight up the side of that steep hill to the golf course on top? There’s no trail. It’s covered in tall, golden grasses and weeds and thorns, but the grade reminds me of some of the trail running I do on the weekends — with the bonus of being practically in my backyard instead of half an hour’s drive away in a car like the Boise foothills. So, I went for it. I plowed up, pumping my arms, my breathing becoming rapid and I felt strong! I powered up the whole thing – no small feat for this hill-hater and only stopped when I spotted my finds of the day — two golf balls! Sweet! So, I stuffed them in my pockets and went running cautiously down the hill. Though, I totally get a rush out of running downhill like a wild, crazy animal on singletrack — running down the side of a hill without being able to see my footing under the brush on such a steep grade made me more careful.

It was satisfying to finally do that steep, little hill. I think I’ll be making more frequent visits to it from now on. Let’s only hope I don’t get knocked unconscious one of these days as I crest the top and a golf ball comes flying at me. ha ha!

I ran up the “nemesis” nice and comfortably strong after the smaller hill, then turned at the top and let gravity work it’s magic on my legs. I love that kind of speedy turnover without any of the effort of the flat or steep. I can’t help but exclaim, “Ahhhh…..so nice and soo much fun!” as I glide back down to earth.

I jogged along for a quarter mile nice and easy, then decided it might be nice to take a little walk break since I am still concerned my left shin is feeling a bit iffy. I slowed to a walk and stared up at the trees as I passed. That’s when I saw her! The other runner on the opposite side of the road! Oh no! She thinks I’m a walker! No! Wait! I’m a runner! Really — watch!!! And, I was off.

I crossed to her side of the road (the side I needed to be anyway for my neighorhood turn in) and picked up the pace. I stayed in the road and figured she’d pass me on the sidewalk. But she didn’t. So, I kept at it, really wanting to peek over my shoulder to see how much she was gaining on me, but fearing I’d find myself face-to-face with a stranger who was wondering what the heck I was doing racing her. That would have been too embarrassing, so I kept churning the legs. A half mile later, I arrived at the entrance to my neighborhood and veered in, thinking, “Whew… now that silliness is over. I’m sure she’ll be going straight and I can ease back into my nice, easy pace.” But, I heard footsteps. Quick ones. So, I kept running. Fast.

A quarter mile later, it was time to turn into my little section of the neighorhood. I have never, ever looked back during a race at my competition. It’s a taboo thing for me. I think by keeping my eyes in front of me, it helps keep me focused on my task at hand. But.. I was about to round the corner and I was so curious if I was just imagining the footsteps or not — so, very casually, a I rounded the corner, I looked sideways back at the road I’d just traveled – and there she was — hot on my heels about a tenth of a mile back, so I did the only rational thing that I could think of at that point and kicked my legs into Turbo Mode. Zoooooommmmmmmm……. and I dashed off the last block to my house, skidding to a stop once I’d arrived, breathing heavily with a huge grin on my face. Man, that was fun!

I walked the block to cool down, hoping I’d actually bump into my “competitor” so I could thank her for pushing me a bit out there today — but I didn’t see her again. Maybe next time.

Stats: 3.75 miles. Felt: Sluggish at first, pretty great at the end.

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