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, July 6, 2013

The Trail Calls

The marina parking lot is peppered with cars giving evidence to boat owners sleeping on their boats.  The sun kisses the ocean good morning.  The sea is still.  I start my watch; it is 6:33 am.

My pace is easy and it feels good.  For this I am thankful.  I had run a simple 4 mile run a day before and it was difficult, but today, the running felt good.

I wind my way out of the marina and head toward downtown.  I will connect with a trail there and follow it to within a mile of the next county.  Turning into the alley which connects me to the trail, I run by the Farmer's Market.  One or two vendors are starting their day; on my return the place will be bustling with people.

The trail is empty.  My footfalls are the only sound I hear.  As I near the ocean's edge, I see sailboats gently rocking on the sea.  All is quiet at the park except an occasional sea gull.

In just over 4 miles I am at the trail head, "The Urb" as we call it. The trail winds the edge of town for a couple miles, yet one would never know.  The trees hide the roadway and block the sounds of any traffic.  This morning I hear only birds.  All singing praises, and I quietly join their praises by thanking God for such a beautiful run in such a beautiful place.

The deserted trail, lost in nature is exactly what I need.  Life has been exceptionally crazy, many stresses, and this deserted trail along with my alone time with God is the salve I craved.  No one calling, no one needing my attention, no one asking me anything; with each step I was unwinding.  There are footfalls and birds singing and me.

Shade is plentiful with small sun streams reaching the forest floor.  I am in awe of the beauty.  The trail parallels the ocean and when the trees part I am given the most incredible vistas of an endless ocean.  

I have met only 3 runners this morning, and one was approaching me.  In the farthest part of the trail, I realize my friend Joy is running toward me!  We stop for a minute or two and catch up as quickly as we can.  Injury has kept her away and our running group misses her so.  With a hug, we part ways.

A mile later I have reached 10 miles and turn around to head back into town.  God and I talk; I feel better.  It never ceases to amaze me how much better I feel.  The verse from Matthew comes to mind, "Come to Me all who are burden and heavy laden and I will give you rest."  After running 10 miles I feel rested.

Something up ahead catches my eye.  It is a deer, facing me, and it is standing in the middle of the trail.  I kick my feet in hopes the noise will scare it off.  No such luck.  The deer looks to be about a year old and I wonder if I've got the age right or if mama is hiding around the corner.   The deer isn't moving and I slow my pace and make louder noises.  She isn't scared, but rather, lowers her head and scrapes her hoof in the dirt.

Oh no.

I stop; very well aware she is standing her ground and not going to move.  I know she is not old enough to have babies so I wonder if she is trying to let mama know how brave she is.    Finally she raises her head and stares at me again.  With a jerk to the left she begins to buck her way off the trail and into the brush.  Whew.  I prayed mama wasn't near by.

Mile 14 chirps on my watch and I recognize my friends Dawn and Jackie coming toward me on the trail.  We pause our watches and all talk at once.  Our laughter is caught in the branches of the forest.  Big, long hugs are given and we continue on each in our own direction.

As I leave the forest, I know the hottest part of the course is in the final 4 miles.  I remind myself to run this mile and nothing more.  I feel good and my pace is strong.  Along the water people have started their weekend; they are milling around the park, lazily walking with coffee in hand.  They are loving the ocean view.

The final hill awaits on South Bay Trail and I take it slow and steady.  Shade dots the trail giving relief along the way.  The Farmer's Market is now in full swing with vendors selling their wares and food cooking on the grills.  Surprisingly it smells good - nothing usually smells good at 18 miles.  I turn and head back to the marina.

With a final mile to go, I realize even though I am tired, my solo run has cleared my head.  My legs are heavy, my heart is light.  With my car in sight, my watch chirps.  20 miles of solitary alone time has given me exactly what I needed, yet I miss the high fives from my friends that we always give when the long miles are completed.

Chocolate milk is on ice waiting for me in my trunk.  I lean against my car enjoying ever single ounce of it.  It's been 20 miles since I'd been at my car and I feel more rested than when I had started.  There is something rejuvenating about the created being among creation.  

The trail gave me more than I ever thought it could.  And it silently waits until next time.  Next time when I need to hear the birds sing and my footfalls quietly echo in the branches.

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