Friday, September 3, 2010

Return to Umstead: Sat. 8/28

Armed with new shoes and determined to take advantage of some great weather, I made my return to Umstead park.  I felt really great after my first run in the park and have been eager to return ever since.  This time I wanted to run the entire Company Mill Trail Loop, which is around 3.8 miles.  The trail has several hills and can be a little narrow in places, but I have wanted to run it for a long time.  The last time I ran in Umstead, I cut across the utility road rather than running the more difficult upper section of the trail.  I had decided on that route before I began because I wasn't sure if I was ready for the full distance.  At the time, it was a wise choice, but after running my second 5k and armed with new shoes I was felling great about the prospects of the morning run.  My achilles felt much better after the rest, and the new insoles were giving me a lot of confidence.  The store attendant warned me that I should walk around in the the shoes for a day or two before running just to get used to the insole, but that recommendation went right out the window.  He'd of had better luck asking me to read the instruction manual to a new car before I drove it!  

Saturday morning and I was standing in The parking lot at Umstead looking around at all the runners forming groups, stretching, some preparing for runs while others were finishing, I felt like this was right were I needed to be at this moment.  I didn't feel the least bit out of place or at odds with myself, which for me is a rarity.  I don't often handle new social setting well internally.  Externally, I don't think that most people are aware of tumult of my canerian soul, which is a good thing.  I decided that I would once again walk to the trail that leads to the base of the loop as a warm up, then run the loop, and walk the trail back as a cool down.  Things started rather oddly when about halfway down the trail a mixed bag of runners were stopped in the middle of trail do the a rather testy copperhead (poisonous) snake.  I stood their like a bitch waited while a woman poked it with a stick until it decided to move off of the trail.  After that I made my way to the loop and started my run.  Everything went really well!  The new shoes were doing get and my achilles felt stable.  The first mile went by fairly well.  It has one pretty good hill which was no problem.  Also, I wasn't fighting the trail, which felt very natural, and I wasn't worried at all about twisting an ankle or falling.  After crossing over the utility road and beginning the second mile, I started to notice that I was running a lot stronger than I am accustom to running and was still able to sing along with my I-pod (OK . . . sing is an overstatement considering I am tone deaf -- I could speak the words in a rhythmically challenged sort of way)!  After I crossed back over the utility road and was headed  back toward the bridge, I expected to start to lose steam, but I really didn't.  In fact, when the bridge came into sight I was really shocked -- my exact words were "you've got to be shitting me!" -- I had no idea that I was that close to the bridge.  After I crossed the bridge, I knew that I could continue the run back to my car and was tempted to do it, but I decided to stick with my plan and walked out.

I made a point to try to enjoy my walk back to the parking lot.  I looked at the sunlight shinning thought the trees and just stay in the moment.  This moment felt exactly like I had hoped.  So few thing in our lives live up to or expectations, but this run had.  After I returned home I told my wife about in an annoyingly detailed and ecstatic manner, but she loved me enough to listen, which is about all I can ask.

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