Through the years, A Girl, Her Hubs & a Suitcase have traversed the world conquering bucket list adventures and spectacular once in a lifetime experiences. But, in this unique edition of Edellsescipades- the focus is much more personal and centers on an internal accomplishment that I wish to share with my followers.
A road trip for Thanksgiving has placed your favorite blogger and soul mate to Lancaster, South Carolina https://www.lancastercitysc.com/. This destination lies conveniently at the boarder of North and South Carolina- in the Charlotte region. The purpose of this excursion was family time, carb loading and holiday celebrations. The Hub’s niece and her beloved, who have recently relocated, as well as Hub’s sister and brother in law. All Upstate New Yorkers acclimating to the scintillating South.
Although many joyous memories were created during this festivious gathering- this blog will focus solely on one activity that has forever changed my fitness philosophy. If you follow the blog and have kept up with my shenanigans- you will be familiar with my weight loss journey and the secondary rewards that have transpired from this.
A novice runner of sorts I have become- partially because now I can- and more so because it provides me with great satisfaction, peace and balance in my life. As I have continued down the road to well-being and physical harmony I have been intrigued with the notion of trail running https://www.runnersworld.com/trail-running/.
A city girl at heart, residing squarely in the heart of downtown- pavement running is what these tootsies know best. Lee- my niece’s husband- a running guru, athletic aficionado and expert exerciser- served as my trail run mentor. Located within their very neighborhood, literally steps from the doorstop is the Carolina Thread Trail https://www.carolinathreadtrailmap.org/trails/trail/twelve-mile-creek-greenway-walnut-creek-park.
The trail crosses into both Carolinas continuing well on into North Carolina. With Lee leading the way into the brisk 31 degree chilly air, we set out first on un-intimidating pavement that led into a dirt trail. As my ridiculously priced, pristine running sneakers punched the red clay earth with force, I knew this would forever change me- both physically and emotionally.
The narrow path covered with jagged rocks sloped downhill in sharp decline- pebbles crunches under my heels as if to cheer me on. Lee pointed to dangerous jutting obstacles in friendly warning, as my headphones blasted Bruce Springsteen’s “Baby we were born to run”. The staccato notes in tune with my rhythmic side stepping, fancy foot work with Fred Astaire like moves miraculously emerged out of nowhere saving me from injury.
As the trail continued, my nervousness was replaced by growing confidence. My feet pummeled the ever changing terrain, adjusting to my surprise to the multi-sensory elements that pervaded the path. My mind wandered into a kaleidoscope of thoughts, some so deep that attempting to recall it now only produces a foggy mirage of elusiveness.
As we crossed a wooden bridge, the vibration shuddered up my spine bringing me back to the reality of this experience. Through the course of the trail, the landscape began to change. The dirt floor turned to a carpet of pine needles as the path descended in an exhilarating 180 degree angle. The soles of my sneakers grasped the earth as my knees bravely took the burden.
As my eyes inspected my immediate visual field, warning me of hazards in my path- my thoughts turned sober. Clarity as I had never experienced came full into focus, sharp and clear with intention and resolve. My soul’s purpose on earth was never more vivid. I have no recollection of what the meaning was as its tangibility became a moving target similar to a fading star.
As my body made one of the many sharp turns, I began to equate this run to life. Similar to the unknowing and anticipation- moments where no visible barriers were present and then -just as my thoughts settled and my body eased, a tree root deeply embedded jagged out causing me to trip and propel forward.
Cautiously, I proceeded as pine needles rained down on me, creating a rug of soft cushioning respite momentarily for my feet. As I began to relax, stones with pointy edges in a multitude of sizes and shapes served as foot shrapnel assaulting my delicate plantars.
My mind spun like a tilt- a- whirl manifesting magnificent mantras. At the halfway point, we stretched our overworked muscles as I shared a few of my poetic ponderings. Lee smiled in amusement at my rambling mania. He listened and offered his keen runner’s insight making me feel less foolish and more validated in my new found epiphany.
As we made our way back to complete the loop, this go-around- I began to feel- may I say a bit cocky? As I perused my watch, proud of my swift pace, a mangled tree root mocked my footing and a forward trajectory rocketed me once again. I did not panic, I went with it, arms swinging core tight-all the while feeling confident my body would not fail me.
As we winded out the course, I grew sad that this adventure was coming to a close. As I approached the end of the path, Lee only a few feet ahead- cheering me on -I slowed myself to a walking pace for the short distance home.
Curious, he asked my thoughts. Giddy and breathless- I promised him as he had asked to put this in a blog.
So, here are my thoughts:
This trail run for me was a metaphor for life. Just as in our journey on this earth- there are ups and downs. Along that path there are obstacles, barriers, influences and cheerleaders. Sometimes, what may appear as a smooth easy surface- may turn out to be deceptive.
Minefields lay ahead, all unbeknownst to each one of us- ready to cause harm. Reciprocally, there are guardian angels looking out for you, ready to veer you towards safety. Many times, the “noise” in our heads cause distraction. Egos such as my watch/pace confirmation get in the way as well.
This run particularly mimicked my ongoing weight loss journey with the highs and lows (mostly highs) of changing one’s life. This process has forced me to constantly refocus, recalibrate and adjust to the many changes along the way. Just as in my run, as the geography altered so did my approach.
Lastly, Lee offered really no pre- commentary or warning on what to expect on the trail run. I appreciate this- truly. If he had warned me about the narrow path, the dangerous curves, the darting rocks and deep descents- I probably would have bailed.
But, instead-he let me have my own true authentic experience without his perspective influencing it. This is true leader- a gifted quality for a mentor.
In summary, my trail run on the Twelve Mile Carolina Trail was a game changer for me. It profoundly resonated in me- more than just a run- an emotional experience that parallels life’s many diverse challenges.