First run in four months…

Three weeks ago we started going to the fitness center.  Treadmills, rowing machines, and stationary bicycles offered symmetry and a relaxation so I could “listen to my body” as I did this, that, and t’other in the hope of returning to where I am supposed run…

An empty forest trail always beckons
An empty forest trail always beckons

Yesterday morning I looked at the Achilles area on my left leg.  The knot that had been lemon-size was almost gone.  There was no sudden difference in sensitivity as I rubbed my fingers up and down the sides of it.  Kathy watched, finally saying, “You should go out.”  I muttered agreement, got dressed in what had been walking clothes for most of an eternity and went to the trails.  For a change I had to be selective about where to run, and about how long to run–neither of which was normally a concern.  At least 45 minutes?  Yes, that seems enough to feel things out.

I have never seen a pigeon on this trail
I have never seen a pigeon on this trail

Up Raider Creek and across to the misnamed Pigeon Ridge.  There were several pauses to make sure I was not feeling anything.  I know “we” can block things out.  I did not want to block anything out.  I wanted and needed to know it is okay to be running, however slowly, again.  I might have watched for roots more closely, I don’t know.  I was surprised as I got to Fisher Ridge that the rooty section was behind me.  No trips, no stumbles–the oxymoron of concentrating on relaxing was allowing foot placement to be done with no conscious distraction.

mar_02_14_2 (Medium)

I checked for reported downed trees on Emilie’s Ridge and Mainline to see what tools would be needed tomorrow.  The hints of new growth, the harbingers of Spring, are all around.  The madronas smooth bark is already changing from its yellowish green to red as it stands in attention-gathering contrast to the salal, rhododendrons, and fir trees around it.

A madrona among the salal, rhodies, and firs
A madrona among the salal, rhodies, and firs

Across Mainline and down Tunnel, aptly named as the dense woods keeps it ever darkened and moist.   The watch beckons…30 minutes… I have no concern with bygone days when runs were measured in hours or ‘back by sundown’ or such.  I am happy to be out and moving comfortably with no need, other than lungs that don’t recall what they are supposed to do, to pause.  One cedar demands attention.  Its trunk becomes many branches, each seeking the sun.  We have untold numbers of books that tell us the trees are not sentient beings, but none explain the contortions trees go through to get to the sun and how they know to do that.

Western Red Cedar spreading out to find the sun
Western Red Cedar spreading out to find the sun

The reported fallen tree is found.  It is small.  I will return tomorrow with a hand saw and loppers to cut and clear the trail.  There is a mountain bike race this coming weekend.  We will try to cover all their routes to make sure the trails are clear for their speeding here and there.  For now I am happy to have the time and energy to make one more turn away from the car.  I have not been down Shepherd’s Crook since October.

Down to where the shade never leaves
Down to where the shade never leaves

The ferns never go away from the kettle that Shepherd’s Crook winds through.  Red alder, hemlock, and Douglas fir trees line the bottom and sides of the kettle.  Cascara and rhodies grow along the upper slopes catching the sun’s last light; horsetail ferns line the last of the climb out of the dampness and onto Raider Creek.  The car is just a quarter mile away;  a gently downhill finish to another start.

—– Run gently out there —–