Monday, October 26, 2009

Trees through the Forest


A week until the marathon. I'm feeling better, but how will I do? Shrug. No idea. It's not like I have a fuel gauge on my forehead. My mind-body connection is not that refined.

And what about M? If she does poorly in NYC (or is forced to drop out), the long-term consequences will be dire. M will get angry. She will visit more p.t.'s and doctors. She will train even harder. And look for another marathon. Chicago? L.A.? Cleveland? Who knows. And the worst part. . . I will likely get roped in.

If M kicks butt in NYC, I don't fair much better. Her madness will envelope everything. She will glow. Sparkle. Bounce. Beam. She will ponder the possibility of better times. And imagine beating the local Flag runners. And, alas, look for another marathon.

Basically, for me, it's a lose-lose! That said. . . I want her to do well.

Yesterday we did one final big run. Since we are tapering, we lowered our mileage to a half (thirteen plus miles). We ran in shifts, like usual. M set out first, taking Mundo with her. I left an hour later. The weather was placid.

The woods were full of runners, so I didn't expect to see any wildlife. I ran Soldier's Loop, adding on a few miles from M's path to Woody Mountain. Mostly, I kept my eyes on the trail.

Even though it was warm, the sky held hints of winter. A large ufo-shaped cloud hovered over the peaks. Snow was on its way. Soon it would be near-impossible to run this trail. And while I was running it, I started actually missing it. Especially the trees. A few of the large pines had become familiar to me. They were elders. Great and silent advisers. Highly evolved life-forms, well versed in the art of standing still.

I've said it a zillion times. I'm not a runner. But just maybe, I could be a trail runner. Man, I love these pines. Tiger-striped. Towering. And touchable. Not that I'm planning on it (because I'm not). But if I die. Bury me here.

Anyway, my run went fairly well. I did 10:30's. And zoned out for most of it. Of course, I have no idea how to double it for NYC. This is the great mystery of marathon training. You cannot know how the body will do. Even in the micro-second before the race begins. It's impossible to see four-plus-hours in the future. There are too many unknowns. All I can do is listen to the my tunes, maintain my pace, and see what I see. The world of a marathon runner is very small. It is a short distance. Existing mainly between the body and the road.

As I ran the urban trail, I saw a number of squirrels. They hopped around the trees. They inspected various items in the tall grass. These are Albert's squirrels, native to the Rocky Mountains (and the Colorado Plateau). They are distinctive for their tall fuzzy ears, gray coats, and dancing white tails.

I stopped to watch a pair of them. And managed a quick photo of one. The pair seemed to be circling each other. Maintaining a perimeter. A small, secluded space. They both kept up a serious pursuit of pine cones. Seemingly unaware of each other. Until I got too close. And stepped on a twig. Crick! They scampered up the same tree.

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