As excited as I was about getting new running shoes, there is one minor (really quite large) detail that I forgot: you have to break into a new pair of running shoes. So on my first day with the new running shoes, after a quick one mile warm-up, my cross country coach sent the team on a five mile run on the nature trail.
An environmental enthusiast, I always love our trail runs. For the duration of my run I feel like I am truly immersed in my natural environment. Beautiful violet flowers rise up amongst the trees and shrub. A quiescent creek timidly flows along the edge, barely vocalizing its thoughts. The archaic railroad tracks follows us on our run, forever catching up and leading us. The graffiti on the bridge that the trail runs under, reminds me of the raw beauty certain art forms have.
All-in-all I really love running on the trail. But on this specific run, I wasn’t having nearly as much fun as I had hoped. Failing to consider the inevitable fact that I have to break into my running shoes before they feel completely comfortable, I set out on the run expecting to be running in the clouds. Two mile in however, I was almost in tears. My arches hurt, my toes felt like they would fall off, and my feet burned. When I got to the water fountain half way through my run, I had to stop and take me feet out of the suffocating shoes for a moment before gingerly placing them back on my feet and resuming my run.
At this point I was with two other friends in cross country, Anna and Emily, and I seeking any distraction to assuage and alleviate the pain I was in. Just then the secret trail came to mind. Unlike the paved trail that we typically run on, the ‘secret trail’, is a dirt path that runs deeper into the woods and right alongside the creek. Though I had run on the secret trail in past years, I had yet to experience its thrill during the current cross country season. In addition to this, the friends I was running with had never had the privilege to run on the secret trail, and thus I decided to embark on this little voyage and introduce them to the new wonders. Entering the trail it was much narrower than I had remembered. Underbrush grew so thickly that the path was almost completely covered. The trail proved to be a mini obstacle course soon after we entered. First we had to tackle the underbrush. Then we happened across a portion of the stream that had dried up and we had to fight our way across the bumpy ground. Later on a tree branch was growing so low to the ground that we had to play a little limbo to get under unscratched. The next obstacle was a huge tree trunk that had fallen across our path. In the process of ungracefully climbing over this branch, I accumulated a fair number of scratches. Finally we saw a little clearing indicating that we had reached the end of a secret adventure. I truly had enjoyed this voyage! As battered and bruised as I may have been, I was appreciative that the secret trail had taken my mind off my feet and given me a little story to share. As Anna said, it felt like we had just taken a run through the Hunger Games! (Sorry there is no picture with this post, but the ‘secret trail’ has to remain secret 🙂 )