The World Through My Shoes is my look at living this incredible gift God has given us. As a busy wife, mother and daughter I relish the alone time I receive on my early morning runs. It is in the stillness of those predawn mornings where I often am inspired. Thank you for taking the time to read my words.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Step Backs and Sunrises

There is a gift given each runner during marathon training; it's called a "step-back week".  This is the point in the training where mileage is reduced in an effort to give the body a little extra rest.  Every fourth week most plans call for this reduced mileage and this week was my step-back week.  

Training can take on a life of it's own and often consume one's mind with tempo runs, track workouts and distance runs.  The reduced mileage allows not only the body to rest but also the mind, and I was looking forward to "just running".

After months of double digit long runs, today's long run was to be a whopping 5 miles, and I couldn't wait.  My friends were scheduled to meet me at a trail head at 7:15.  I left the house a little before 7 just as the sun was thinking about peeking over the Cascade mountains.  Grey clouds scattered the sky teasing the threat of rain.

Parking the car, I saw people milling about making their way in and out of the coffee house.  My friends and I rolled in within minutes of each other and left the city behind as we hopped on the Railroad Trail.  The trail seems to transport us into the woods even though the city lay right outside its boundary.

Scattered behind me were strewn the stresses of my week.  Each step delivering me further down the trail and farther away from the anxieties that had been nipping at my heels.  This run was exactly what I needed.

My friends and I talk endlessly trying to get a week's worth of happenings condensed into a 5 mile conversation.  The talk flowed easily and light, mimicking the pace we kept.  We followed the trail leading us across from one of the town's biggest lakes.  Nestled at the bottom of a hillside, the dark waters spoke of the lake's depth and the winter's cold.   Reaching the top of the trail, we were stopped in our tracks at the beauty of the exploding sunrise over the mountainous hills spilling its rays onto the stillness of the waters.  We stood in awe of the beauty we beheld.

Reluctantly we left the lakeside and turned ourselves back to the direction we had come from.  High aloft a winter's tree, a dilapidated hawk's nest stood exposed; spring's green leaves would soon arrive making the nest once again a home.  The trail began to hum with activity as the sunrise brought people out from the warmth of their houses and out into the nature around them.

Our easy run ended almost as quickly as it began affording us the luxury of enjoying a hot coffee at the corner coffee house. I glance around the table and think back to one year ago when I knew none of them.  Now after miles together, I can't imagine my life before them. How blessed am I to have easy miles, breath-taking sunrises and friends at my side to enjoy it all...

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