Monday, December 03, 2012

change up

Change the voices in your head
make them like you instead

~ pink


change is easy.

all you have to do is sit there and it happens.

then again, if you get up and gear up and get out, something better might happen.


"It's early in the winter weather season to be whining, but Western Washington and the rest of the region are in for another round of drenching days with no break in sight."

it's been raining here ~ a lot ~ but it's still possible to head outside and run. not optimal, but possible.

as it turns out, pursuant to a previous post, rain-soaked miles really are a consciousness-altering experience.

in good weather, a trail run through discovery park is exhilarating, with views of the olympic mountains and puget sound, on trails that wind through woods thick with pine and madrona and low ferns. 

on a storm-wracked day of high wind and drenching rain ~ with its heightened effect on multiple senses ~ the experience is more dramatic.

the cascade views disappear, of course, hidden behind a wall of lowering gray. trails that were steep and challenging before now are slick beneath rapidly moving water or thick with shoe-grabbing mud.

wind-whipped waves crash on a beach that was runnable at low tide just a couple of weeks ago. between the wind and the surf, the noise is deafening.

as unlikely as it seems, there are others out on the trails as well. alone, in groups, with dogs. "good morning," they say as they pass, as if the conditions were of no more interest than a sunset stroll in summer.

there are rough-hewn stairs connecting the bluff and the beach below, with three- or four hundred feet of elevation in between. the wood of the steps, and the wet leaves that cover them, are a constant concern. a misstep heading up could be painful ~ a slip heading down would be disastrous.


the pace of the group i run with is beyond my ability. they are young and accomplished, veterans of marathons and ultramarathons on the road and trail. their "easy" pace is my tempo or race pace. sometimes, if i'm feeling particularly strong, i can keep up...other times i'm happy to stay in visual contact, catching up when the leaders circle back for stragglers.

i'm not upset by my status in the hierarchy of this pack. i feel fortunate to be included at all. the fact is, running with these people has made me a better runner. faster, more efficient, less emotional when i can't keep up. and on a day like today, i am content to follow, because leading would be a reach beyond my grasp.

sidebar: regardless of who makes it back to the running shop first, i'm always the top finisher in my age group. this is guaranteed by the fact that i'm the only participant in my age group. is that detail important?


afterward, at the coffee shop across the street, there are breakfast sandwiches and protein smoothies and cafĂ© viennas. the shop is close and warm and welcoming of runners, no matter how rain-soaked. 

after several minutes' dry, quiet respite, there is a walk, uphill, back home. this time, it doesn't rain.

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