The Hardest Step

My left shin was still kinda bugging me yesterday. Not horrible, but annoying. I was stile quite depressed about some of the stress I was under. I then ate 14,000lbs of something called a “Butter Bar” from the bakery where E works, while I waited for him to get off work. Imagine the gooey part of baklava mixed with something chess-pie like and formed into some sort of brownie type shape and consistency. It was AMAZING. And I ate A MILLION OF THEM. And it was supposed to be 20 degrees this morning and I know some of you people in Minnesotan-type places think that’s summer, but that’s cold here and all of these factors had me thinking last night: I’m totally skipping my run tomorrow.

Then the race director from the 15K next week posted on our local Facebook page that he had marked the course. The course I was supposed to be running the next morning. That almost seemed like the universe was saying, “Look! We’re making it easy for you! Go run!” So, I thanked him on the page – kinda putting it out there I’d be running it as a way to be held accountable.

I’m telling you, even when I woke up this morning, I was still thinking about skipping. I had tons of work to do today for my job. I had tons of work today to do for my life. So many reasons just kept popping up for me to ditch the run.

But I just kept moving forward with the plan. Got my layers on. Drove up to the mountain. Ate my breakfast. Whined about the cold and my shins with other runners.

And then we ran.

Sometimes you just have to keep moving forward with the plan to run. Just make your body go forward. Get dressed. Put on the shoes. Go out the door. And try your best to ignore all of the reasons you have NOT to do it. And even someone like me…WHO LOVES IT…hates it some days.

But I got out the door. I made the hardest step. I drove up the mountain. I froze my ass off.

And I had one of the best running days of my life.

It was cold, but it was BEAUTIFUL.

I was part of a bigger group (Not this huge group, they were training for a different race. I am not lying when I talk about our huge trail-running community up here.) running the 15K course but ended up as a trio with two of my running buddies. One is fairly new to trails, one did the same 50K I did on Tuesday. We were just taking our time. We were running where we could, but we walked plenty and took tons of pictures.

It was just a glorious day. There was a lot of ice around the trails, but nothing too treacherous until the very end. The ice just made gorgeous decor to the sunny and beautiful surroundings. My friends were excellent company and we pulled off the trails for a bit to cheer on that other giant group as they ran past us in the opposite direction. It was just a great day.

The funny part was at the very end of the course. We had just stopped to take some icicle selfies and were excitedly talking about how pretty it all was when we looked ahead at the trail that was taking us back up the mountain and we all had the same reaction: Oooooh! Pretty! And then immediately afterwards…OOooooohhh…Nooooo…that’s where our feet are supposed to go.

It’s hard to tell because of the leaves covering everything, but immediately to the left of the ice is a ledge that dropped down to the lower trail. We might not die if we fell, but we would hurt and probably need someone to carry us out. IT WAS SO EXCITING. I got up and surveyed the situation and announced, “Okay. I’m crawling. I think I can get around the ice if I hug the edge but I’m doing it on my hands and feet.”

Later my friend told me she entertained that I announced that. She said she thought, “Was there another option?”

So we crawled our way to the top of the mountain over the ice at the end of a 10-mile run on a glorious freezing day on a mountain in Alabama and it was WONDERFUL. I ended it so happy and just full of joy and excitement and feeling GREAT about my life and the universe.

THIS. Is why I run.

2 thoughts on “The Hardest Step”

  1. YAY!!!!!! So glad Universe was kissing your cheek (and hands and feet) and telling you it’s all going to be ok…finally!

  2. 20 is no hat weather here in MN, but, nov-April I’m a treadmill runner and often a fitnessblender in my house girl. I totally agree that the days I force myself out the door are usually the best.

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