I kept coming up with reasons not to run today: it was raining, I had eaten my weight in turkey and other thanksgiving foods, I had a headache, I had run 5 miles yesterday, Friday's are normally an off day. I tried to think of reasons to run but decided that I didn't really need a reason to run. I've gotten to that point -- I am able to run and that is reason enough. I wanted to hit the trails in Umstead. Hiro was back at work and I couldn't stand the idea of spending the whole day on the couch watching old movies, and if I were going to go to the gym to workout, why shouldn't I do what I really wanted to do and run in Umstead? So, that was what I did.
I left around 2pm, the rain had stopped, and it was much warmer than the day before. I felt loose. I untapped my feet before a run for the first time in about two months. I knew that the trail would be blanketed with wet leaves, which would require that my pace be much more measured. It made sense to me to try running without the tape. The tape has helped my PF and achilles problems, but it is doing a number on my skin. And I hate spending money on it. I am not sure when I decided to run the whole length of The Company Mill Trail, but my mind was made up by the time I left the parking lot. I've never run the whole thing before. The trial is 5.8 miles long according to most listings. I kept thinking about all of the people that were shopping today and The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost:
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy ans wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference.
By no means is this my favorite poem or is Frost my Favorite poet. In fact, I have always been rather annoyed by how often it is quoted, but it just fit today. It fit the way I was feeling and the trial that I was running. Because today, it was truly the road less traveled because there were so few people on the trail, which offered me a lot of time to myself. I was able to really enjoy where I was and what I was doing. Running has become a huge part of my life in such a short time, and today's run was one of my most enjoyable runs yet. In fact, other than the last mile, the whole thing was nearly effortless. I was no slouch and made good time despite the fact that the trial was wet and kind of difficult to see. But, I wasn't timing myself and just made a point to try to enjoy this run. The creek was running faster than normal because of the rains, the trees held far fewer leaves, and the whole day seemed more clam, sort of like Japan feels on New Years day or how it feels here just after Midnight Mass. I think that today's run was by far my most transcendental running experience. I know that their is a spiritual side of running that is out there waiting for you if you are open to it. I am not saying that I am going to one day go Forest Gump on the world and just start running across the country, but if I came find a nice inner peace out on the trails of Umstead State Park, then all the better life will be!