Monday, November 24, 2008

Only When The Mind And Body Agree


It started as day dreams and my mind embelished the thought of running a great new trail this weekend. In my foolish mind, I embraced the trail with relentless vigor and energy. There was no hill too tall or trail too technical. The feeling was unforgettable as my mind and body finally agreed. I am sure you all have had this kind of run. Unstopable energy, Floating over the trails on a cusion of soft fluffy air, embracing the base of the largest hill with the attidute of a mountain goat, free floating down the other side knowing that it would only take a pair wings to become airborn.

It was the identical daydream all week and each time the end result was the same. Oh how I longed for that moment. The anticipation, my perceived perfection,the feeling like that of Santa's arrival and the treasures he would bring.

Somehow I didn't remember the month layoff, the thought of 10 extra pounds was corralled to the very rear of my mind, the lingering soreness of the hip surgery a mere faded memory as it floated away dissapearing into the sky like a rolling smoke ring.

Then, Saturday morning rolls around. The feeling of my daydream still lingers but the realization of my current condition wraps it's ugly head around my neck squeezing gently at first but becoming tighter and stronger as I pack my running bag.

I always pack to much, I guess just not knowing how I will feel when I get there, how many layers I may need. That is the drawback of our weather patterns in Maine. You never really know. It is 18 degrees and extremely windy when I drive out onto the street but it could be totally different when I arrive in Topsham.

I am the first to arrive. This is a common as I can't stand the thought of being late. Finally after 30 plus years of marriage, my wife has resigned to being an early arriver because it seems I will never change. I step out of the truck and am imediately hit with a strong freezing wind. This run will surely require some extra layers.

The run today at the Cathance River Nature Reserve was to be a 10 miler (or so) I was not suprised to hear a few threaten of twice that amount. Though an avid daydreamer, I am very realistic when the moment arrives. When Ian asked about my plan of attack, I was quick to assure him that I would play it by ear. Not knowing the nature of the trails along with my layoff, it was anyones guess when the "wall" would slam it's ugly head into my chest.

I was glad to hear that Mindy also planned a shorter run today. I finally put some faces with names and blog writers. Funny how the brain perceives, they always look diffent than you vision. The runners today were Jamie,Jeff,Mindy, Ryan, Danielle,chuck,Blaine, Ian and Scott. A pretty good showing for such a blistery day.

Jamie reminded me so much of my youngest son as he huddled in the warm car seemingly until the last minute, peaking up over the back seat, watching the rest of us shiver in the wind. Suddenly as if a switch was turned, he climbed out of the car and was jumping around with reckless excitement, anxiously awaiting his fight with the trail.

Scott's description of the first mile being an easy jog to the trail head was shadowed by a gusting wind, patches of ice and the realization that my body had decided to disagree with my mind. It fought every little hill with heavy breathing and soft legs. The uneasy feeling of failure was steadily creeping into my mind.

It seems they all took turns to assure my success. Mindy hung back with me for the first mile and a half, Ian doubled back once to be sure we weren't lost (though we almost were). In mile two my breath finally seemed to stabilize a bit. Chuck was appearantly taking his turn to help me along as we had a chance to talk a bit.

Chuck has an awesome blog and it is one of the many I enjoy reading. In mile three I was feeling pretty darn good, Chuck had rejoined the leaders at this point and Jeff came running back the trail. He gave the appearance of just backtracking for pleasure but I suspect he was secretly making sure I hadn't collapsed and fallen into the river.

The run along the river was perfect. I actually had warmed up enough to shed my coat and gloves. Though the trail was technical and quite tough, I enjoyed the scenery around me. The rolling river, the cool air fighting the sweat beads on my face, the trees reaching out and trying to veer me off my course. I think at mile 3.5
I was actually living my daydream not caring wether I was lagging or not.....just enjoying what nature has brought me at that very moment.

Suddenly I noticed Ryan running back to check on me. I assured him I was OK and could find my way. He then did this amazing job of staying just in my view. Far enough ahead to see the others but lagging just enough to allow me a sight of his bright coat. I would see flickers of his structure out of the corner of my eye and that convinced me I was going the right way.

The hill in mile four was the toughest so far as I actually had to walk a portion of it. It was then that the memory of just a mere half mile ago was fading fast. Did I really feel that good 4 short minutes ago or was I so fatigued that i was deaming? Whatever it was, it was surely gone now.

Finally I broke through the wooded area and came upon the trail Monsters discussing the run so far. I had a chance to talk to Blaine a bit as he asked about my injury. It was actually the first time we spoke in person as it is usually through his blog. Scott asked my opinion of the river trail and I honestly must admit how nice it really was. I swear it was 20 degrees warmer back there.

This is where the Trail Monsters continued on as Mindy and I negotiated the trail back to the start. I felt so lucky to have mindy there to help drag my sissy ass body back to the parking lot. Of course I couldn't seem to shut up. Surely she felt she had heard enough and was just as excited to see the end of the trail as I was to stop running.

It retrospect, I supose I bit off a little bigger bite than my condition warranted but I wouldn't trade the morning for anything. It sometimes takes a challenge to remind a person of their capabilities and goals. I needed this run, I needed a kick in the butt, I needed the humbling experience as a relative means to gage my future

A person could not run with a better group of people. It was the highlite of my weekend......well that and the Patriots winning!

6.5 miles
tough and technical trails
10:14 pace
Av HR 153 max 164
xtremly cold but very scenic


Sparkplug said...

It was good to meet you Saturday after reading your blog for a few months. I was impressed to see you out there negotiating the rugged trails so soon after your surgery! I think you did great, and hope to see you other trail monster runs soon. I'm sure you'll be running fast again in no time :-)

Jamie said...

Nice job, Kevin! You're rebounding quickly. Awesome man. I think most of us got our butts kicked on Saturday, those were some tough trails.

Dan said...

It's good to see you didn't let the cold deter you from having a great run. Have a good Turkey day