i miss my trail. i am not quite sure how this has happened. well, actually i do know why i haven't made it out to do any trail runs, lately. between flooding at the park, sports activities for the kids, and trips out of town, it has been a matter of fitting it in on the treadmill or simply doing what lots of runners do; put on my shoes and walk out my front door (i'm not a fan of either). so, to get to a trail requires planning ahead and travel. (i am always good for a road trip. it's the planning ahead that seems to vex me.) my favorite place to run is little mulberry park in gwinnett county, ga about 35 minutes away from my house. while i'm out there i simply cannot believe that these secluded woods are in the middle of such a hectic place.
so, i have been running, just not where i would prefer. today i was on my treadmill about 2.5 miles into my run when it happened... that happy place for me where my running feels good. my body gets going. my breathing and foot strikes are in a hypnotic rhythm. and there are some killer tunes on my ipod. before you know it i am doing the 'thankful thing'. those who have run with me have witnessed this crazy little ode to joy that erupts from my soul. i start thanking jesus for my lungs and my heart. i thank jesus that my legs and feet have carried me this far. and then i thank jesus for the trees. on occasion, i have even been know to stop and hug one or two most unsuspecting, very stately, trees. i always take them by surprise. but they always, most graciously, hug back. trees have good manners. especially, in the south.
but today, there were no trees to hug. there are no trees in my basement. just things that are counterproductive to my running like a tv, comfy chairs, and a bar. running for me is more than exercise. it is a chance for me to connect to god. my version of god anyway. when i run i talk to god; my own jesus of the trail. much like ricky bobby in 'talladega nights', i have my own version of what jesus looks and acts like. while, ricky bobby's favorite version was the "baby jesus", my jesus of the trail is a combination of sayid from lost and mary catherine gallagher's jesus from the movie 'superstar', a la will ferrel. so, the jesus i meet on the trail has an amazing sense of humor! we laugh at ourselves. well, this is usually a time when i laugh at myself. ( i think jesus would laugh at himself, but i am not willing to risk blasphemy and say for certain that he does.) while i love running, it is often a struggle for me. sometimes, especially if it has been a while since my last run, it can be a time when i want to beat myself up for something that i did or didn't do. like kicking myself for holding onto the childhood notion that mac n cheese counts a vegetable or the very adult notion that sangria is it's own food group. ( i make sangria with mangoes and raspberries, copious amounts of nutritional value are represented here). laughing at myself keeps the mood light and reminds me that beating myself up is a really bad habit. and my trail jesus knows me well. he shows me grace. after all, running is a learning process with grace at its core.
so, i said all of that to say this: i need to get back to my trail. i need to fall into that hypnotic rhythm that comes from the combination of my breath and foot strikes. i miss my trees. i need to hug them and have them hug me back. i miss my trail.