My lovely trails were waiting..
"Better you than me"
"Is something chasing her?"
"How do you not turn an ankle?"
"Wow...I could never do that"
Those are just a few of the comments I heard from people on the trails today. It was a beautiful day and while my run was slowed due to foot traffic...it was wonderful to see so many people out and enjoying nature together. I loved the "is something chasing her?" comment. I thought that was just hysterical as I was making really good time on the downhill portion and the rocks were just like perfect little launching pads. I am sure it did look like someone was chasing me! What I did not love was witnessing first hand the doubt people have in themselves when it comes to trail running. I almost wanted to stop and say "YES...YOU CAN DO THIS....FOLLOW ME!". Hearing "I could never do that" left me disappointed because anyone can trail run if they want to! There is so much more to it then just the running. It is the feeling of freedom that comes from it. It is the beauty of nature flying by you as you make you way up and down the trails. It is the sensation in the feet and the legs. The primal knowledge that you are an animal and that years ago this is WHAT YOU DID. It is the amazement you will feel once you notice your instincts taking over as you make you way thru tough terrain....how your vision adapts to the trail in front of you and guides you over rocks and tree roots. It is the beauty all around you when you reach your stopping point or just have to rest. The human body was meant to navigate the world in this manner and to allow ones self to experience it is just magical!
Can you tell today was my first day back on the trails here in Kentucky? While I loved every minute of being home...I will admit that I missed my wonderful trails down at Raven Run. I was so excited to get down there and run....and to make things even better....some friends were coming along for the journey! Upon my return I learned that a few of the guys from the West Sixth running group were coming to experience trail running first hand. They ended up really liking it I think (except for the one that ran 16 miles yesterday...he is a little sore) and they appreciated how challenging it can be. It was the first time anyone has come along and I was both nervous and excited to see how they took to it. One loved the downhill and not the uphill....one loved the uphill and not the downhill. It was so interesting to see how it was different to each person. What was even better was that everyone agreed that it was a beautiful thing to do on a Sunday afternoon. Ok ladies....you are next!
How did so much change in a week?!
Oh yeah! I am back in Kentucky after a week in my home state of New York! The Yankee has returned to the Bluegrass!!
Now, as you all know...I had such hope for my trip to New York. I had it all planned out....all the places I was going to go run and explore....all the adventures I was going to have. Well...here it is: I got none of it done.
My butt was pretty much planted here the whole week...
It is not that I didn't want to...I really did. It was just that I did not need to. I spent 11 hours driving thru the amazing mountains of Pennsylvania and New York to get home and once I got there I was able to see them everywhere I went. Whether I was sitting on the Southern style front porch at home or driving to Woodbury Commons to go shopping...I could always see the Catskills and Bear Mountain. Words cannot describe how relaxing it was. I literally did not have a care in the world. Nothing seemed to phase me while I was up there and I felt no need to get out and run. My body did not tell me to. It really did not want to and I listened. I spent my time enjoying and exploring the beautiful world right outside my front door and I do not regret it one bit...it was what I needed at that moment and the peace I feel from it will stay with me for quite a while.
Wait...no....that last paragraph is not 100% correct. Something did phase me during my stay in NY and you all know what it is. Everyone knows what it is....you have to unless you are living in a cave somewhere....so here it comes (as I really have not said much about it up to this point...)
I heard about Boston on my drive up. I was picking up little pieces here and there but really did not know the real impact until I sat down that night and watched the news. Like everyone...I could not believe it. I mean...I could believe it because look at the world we all live in....but I could not believe it at the same time (if that makes sense.) As I sat there watching the news coverage I felt an anger similar to if someone was picking on your brother or sister. New York and Boston have a wonderful friendship....we love one another...but we are competitive as hell and we love to tease one another. It is all fun and games and very much like sibling rivalry. And like that rivalry...it is all good until one of your brothers or sisters gets hurt. At that point the gloves come off and all hell may break loose. To say I was angry would be an understatement. It was such a cold and cowardly act. It killed people....it killed a fucking 8 year old child. WTF?! As I watched the video of those bombs going off I could not completely comprehend how it happened. And the fact that it happened at a marathon made if even more eerie...it happened to people who love to participate in the sport I love. It was literally a "that could have been anyone of my friends or even me" moment. It had an impact to say the least. I was left wondering what this world was really coming to. I really didn't think anything positive could come out of it at all....not the slightest little thing. I was wrong...
Later on I went to get coffee and happened to be wearing a t-shirt from that project I told you all about back in December (Summits of My Life www.summitsofmylife.com). It is a simple t-shirt but it states in big white letters "We Are People." As I was standing in line a gentleman noticed it and questioned me on its meaning. It was what he said next that really caught my attention. There I am standing there staring at him...wondering why he is so talkative (funny coming from me right?) and finally he said something like "Shit says it all right there...We Are People....everybody should wear this fucking shirt."
All I could do was smile and agree. Here I was standing in a simple t-shirt from a project that I am pretty sure NO ONE in Goshen, NY knows about besides me. I normally never wear it out. Quite frankly...I sleep in it because it is super soft and the size medium I ordered is too big. I just happened to be wearing it because I was quite frankly too lazy to really get dressed and "hung over" from all the driving I had done. But at that moment none of that mattered. What mattered was that FINALLY someone said what needed to be said: "We Are People". This individual told me he had no clue what a mountaineer was...and that he did not ski or run.....but that the shirt made sense to him. It really drove home the power of simple words. It was not rocket science. The shirt did not say anything amazing...but at the same time it did. I have been wearing it a little more because now the shirt is not about the project to me. It is about where we need to be as a society. It is about the simple things that can make a big impact. Now I just need to find a way to shrink it down a size...
Speaking of "where we need to be (and nature)"....the whole shirt thing led to something else that has been on my mind. Shortly after the above mentioned incident I remembered that my father and brother had never seen the movie that the shirt was from. They had no idea how lucky there were that I could plug my MacBook into the big screen and let them experience first hand "A Fine Line". Now, don't get me wrong. They had no interest but it was quite enjoyable to watch it with them, only because we forgot to put the English subtitles on and they insisted on translating what was being said. At one point they decided it was filmed in Cleveland and the only food consumed was ice. About half way thru I had no hope in them seeing what I saw in the movie. There was no "oooohhhh and ahhhh" of the mountain scenes. No amazement over the small trail running section. No giddy smiling and wide eyed stares at all the beautiful fly overs. No one asked me to pause or rewind at the amazing mountain scenes. No one said "yeah...I see why you would want to go run and explore there". I really did not think they understood ANYTHING about the movie until the part came up where Stephane dies...
"Yo...is that the guy that dies?"
"No...that is Spaniard....he lives...it is the other guy"
"That is such a shame that someone died"
When I started to hear that conversation I had hope for them after all. I never should have underestimated them. Yeah...they were having fun with it. That is what we do in my family. I am teased all the time about my running and the passion and curiosity I have for it...but I could not ask for anymore support from them. They were having fun but at the same time they were "getting it". They saw what I saw in the movie...they saw me watching those mountain scenes (especially the trail running) and new my hearts desire to experience that. They knew my connection to the movie based on the love of nature. It had nothing to do with the subject himself (although don't get me wrong..he is friggin awesome) but the background of the whole movie. I could now relax. At that moment I knew that my passion and wild dreams were not totally ridiculous to them. It was comforting...because there are times when I feel that my dreams of actually experiencing places like that are ridiculous and that I should just push them aside.
Then the surprising thing happened. Someone out of nowhere said "that never should have happened". The room was quiet for a moment and then my dad responded with:
"You know....death is not unfair. Death is fair. You cannot hide from it or fight it. What is not fair is that too many of us cannot die where we love the most. I bet if you asked him where he would want to die it would be there...because that is what he loved doing. I'm sure he didn't want to die right then but if he had to it would be there. We should all be so lucky when our time comes."
Never underestimate my father. He is a wise man. He knows what he is talking about and his simple statement during the movie really made me think. He is right. Death is fair....what is not is that we often don't get to die where we want to. I don't think any of those people in Boston would have choose to die where they did. No car accident or homicide victim is going to say that is where they wanted to die. Many times the universe does not give us that option and my hope is for those who do happen to pass where they love most...that those left behind to go on can really take comfort in that. It was such a peaceful conversation to have with my father. My mother did not have that chance and I know that bothers him very much. It was a reminder of how lucky I am to have the parents I have...and the love for nature and the environment they have. My father said he hopes to "go" in the wetlands somewhere and I would have no problem with that if he did when the time comes. Nature provides everything we need and we are the only species on this planet who often do not die in its loving and guiding arms.
I thought about that today as I ran on the trails. I love trail running. I love the feeling and if I had the choice I would have no problem having my time come to a peaceful end on the trails. Nothing horrific or violent or anytime soon...just to be where I love most when it is all over.
I hope today the friends that came along to trail run could see that love. I hope they could see that love that I have for it. The enjoyment I get out of it....and the peace it brings to me. I think I am finally ready to have more people come with. I think I am ready for people to see where it is I would want to go if I had to go.
Like a woman said to a group of us this morning "It's all good....it's all good."
How awesome would it be to "go" looking up at this?!