Fall in to it. . .a bit on Trail Running.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

I was running along on my merry way.  Heading down a slight incline on a well-worn trail with my dog at the helm, strapped to my waist by her leash.  
I was smiling internally at the pure joy and bliss of being outdoors alone, with not a care in the world.  No husband.  No kids.  No responsibilities (I pretend) for a brief time.  
Which is what my weekly runs have offered me. . .freedom.
I was enveloped by happy thoughts and the sheer pleasure of running and miles of space to traipse along on two strong legs (despite their aching.) 

And my foot caught on a root I didn't see.  

Normally I can catch myself.  
You know, how when you see someone trip hard over a crack in the sidewalk?  
And they stumble gracelessly forward but recover?  And it's hilarious and embarrassing?
But they somehow, can keep from spilling over?

Yeah.
That didn't happen here.
No.  I flew.
The root held the tips of my toes strongly in its grip before releasing me in to straight horizontal flailings as my dense body dropped hard to the dirt like the compact boulder of a woman I am.  
And, considering I was heading downhill, I ACTUALLY SKIDDED along the dirt, on my face, a few more inches from where I landed, you know, just to reassure me there was no recovering from this fall.
Gravity solidly in control.

Shit.

I had so much air-time that I actually had a minute to think in mid-air, "Wow.  Didn't see that comin'.  This is gonna' hurt," before I hit the ground with a clamoring thud and all the breeze against my face fell silent.

"Mommy?"
Man that hurt.  Ok, I didn't call out for my mom, although I wanted to. 
I wasn't dead.
I wasn't even unconscious.
But I was on my back, in a matter of seconds.  
From frolicking joyously to laid out like an injured rhino.
My sweet pup licking my face and anxiously prancing over, on and around my head, unsure of what happened.
(She doesn't handle distressed humans well.)

As I flipped over on to my back (I was face down, no less,) expansive sky still hovered above.  
"My eyes are still in my head," I thought.
I bent my knees, gingerly.  Nothing was broken, far as I could tell.  And I could still breathe.
Ok, then!

I laughed out loud in the stillness of the woods.  GRATEFUL no one was there to see.
But also feeling clumsy and moronic for continuing to choose to run alone, with only the aid of a cell phone and a fluffy puppy.  (Not very helpful when you're miles in to the woods with no cell service and only four paws to assist you.  

This was nothing, in the grand scheme of things.  Nothing.  Hardly a scrape.
A few weeks ago an elite trail runner, Hillary Allen, fell off a trail on a mountainside in the Tromso Skyrace, sustaining serious injuries.

I thought of her.  
For me?  Just a wake-up call and a bruised ego (both necessary lessons,) and a check to my level of humility to help me to keep going in the right direction towards greater self-awareness, presence and daily gratitude, no matter WHAT I'm doing.  

Wilderness trails and trail running (my newest passion,) have forced me to keep one foot in front of the other.  And pay attention to the moment.  
This sport has awakened something in me that keeps me aware but also in great surrender to all that is.
Humble to my limitations of the day, my powerlessness against nature.
It has helped me to train better.  Run smarter.  Plan the best I can.  And know the only way I can continue to ENJOY ANY of it is by dropping any or ALL expectations I have for myself and be flexible.


It was a hard thing to feel alone in the world for a spell. 
Trapped in my own mind without a way out.

But through the internal work and re-awakening I continue to experience, running has become a moving meditation for me, as it is for many.

I've done the Yoga school thing, spent years "learning" to meditate and trying to "master" the art.  
But the most grounding, humbling, soul-reaching activity for me has been to run.  
To head out, feet first.  
IN to the storm.  
UP the hill.
Slide DOWN the crevasse in to darkness.
Willingly and wholeheartedly.

It continues to teach me to learn to trust my body even when my mind is telling me otherwise.
Most importantly, that our greatest falls, can be our biggest saving grace.
Wake us up to new perspectives and show us things we never would've seen otherwise.


More on trail-running coming up. . .


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