Getting In a Zen Place Before My Race

 

This was my first run in several days. I took most of the week off, letting the IT band settle down and gave my full attention to directing my race on Saturday. When I saw the snowflakes fluttering outside my window this morning, I couldn’t wait to get out there and do some running in it!

 

Unfortunately, the snow didn’t last very long, but I did get to enjoy a mile or so of that. The Oregon Trails were nice by my house, but really slippery and muddy the further I went. It was bad enough that I was sliding backwards on the uphills and just decided it wasn’t worth it to keep making a mess of the trails or fight them in those conditions. So, I jogged back over to the sandier, flatter ones near my home and then ran down to Barber Park and ran on those lovely trails along the Boise River.

It was peaceful out. A heavy fog hung along the top ridge line of the Boise Foothills. It was cloudy and overcast and really quite perfect as the natural world seemed so still and soothing. When I came to the trails along the Boise River, I was overcome with reverence. The sound of the rushing waters, the breeze as it rustled through the trees, the occasional bird, just settled my soul and it felt disrespectful to run at first. I had to walk. To really take the time to appreciate the beauty, to let Mother Nature work her magic on my stressed out, busy mind, as breath by breath, I let go of the tensions and the worries and the troubles and took in deep breaths of fresh air that renewed me. I took out my camera and took the time to get a few shots I was really proud of – that could in some small way attempt to capture the moment – part of the experience, though nothing will ever compare to just taking a friend out and experiencing the trail together. It’s the only way they’ll really ever understand my crazy love affair with nature!

I took a path less traveled. It led to a lovely dock. I walked out onto it, stood at the railing and closed my eyes and listened to the sounds of the river as it went past. I could see Table Rock, shrouded in fog, the mountains in the not-too-far distance, the trees reflecting in the water. I noticed that someone had carved J hearts L in the wood on the railing. It made perfect sense that someone would be overcome with romance in such a beautiful place as this. It made me wonder if the girl wrapped her arms around him, pulled him close and with a passionate kiss said, “I love you, too, J!!!”

I finally got my head out of the clouds and headed back onto the trail and started running – just enjoying each footfall on the firm earth. I heard a branch snap and I stopped, a little afraid and stared into the woods. I couldn’t see anything and hadn’t seen another soul on the trail. It made me miss my running buddies! Having someone to be scared with is way more fun than being nervous alone! I kept running and the path looped around to the other side of where the noise had come from. That’s when I saw two women, a man and two dogs, pushing through the bushes and the trees off the path. I heard one of the women say, “Keep looking! You’re not trying hard enough!” and the man (who was dressed in camo and wearing a baseball hat) responded in slow hillbilly way, “Then do it yerself!!!” I started wondering if they were out looking for a body they’d buried (possibly the last runner who’d encountered them out alone in the woods!) and I kicked it into gear to head back to civilization!

All, in all, it was a good run. Not a great one, but a good one. My IT band is still a bit sore, though it may be from the Graston therapy I had done on it on Friday, which left some bruising on both knees. I will see the chiropractor for the last time on Monday and then it’s just heal, run short and mentally get in a Zen place before my 100 miler on Friday and Saturday. I’m scared. I’m excited. I’m eager. I’m taking any and all hugs and encouragements to bolster my heart and mind that I totally can do this. I really want that belt buckle! I will put one foot in front of the other and keep moving until I find that finish line and collapse across it! I promise!

Elevation Gain: 464 feet. Average HR: 144. Felt: Good (Mentally – Very Good)

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