Sunday, June 10, 2012

Reflections on the trail...

Mom & Me: Shore House Cafe
This morning I did my weekly long run, which is now 10K (6.2 miles). I've only done it twice. Last week was the first. The path I run is part footpath, part equestrian trail, and part bike path. I run through chaparral, along baseball fields, golf courses, and even a few blocks of homes. Today I saw a red tailed hawk, about 50 feet away.

I noticed striations (lines) across the foot path that looked like someone had lightly drawn some antlers through the dirt. Upon closer inspection, I discovered they were ant paths! They had trodden down the dusty path to form their own foot paths. Later, in the neighborhood part of the trail, an asphalt driveway across the path was bounded by some two-by-fours. This barrier not only gave a nice edge for the driveway, but created a super highway for the ants. There seemed a lot of traffic for a Sunday morning. But then, ants are probably not about weeks, just days/nights, and perhaps seasons. (An occasionally rain.)
Sunny Flower

Under one huge tree that was all abloom, I stopped and listened. The tree was abuzz with hundreds and hundreds of bees. (They also were busy on a Sunday morning.)

The trail was very hilly and though most of it is just dirt, some parts are covered with crushed granite or heavy gravel. Heavy gravel is difficult to run up, and a bit dangerous to run down. Going uphill, I discovered that the edges of the pathway were more lightly strewn with gravel. So on the return trip, I asked myself, "What would Robert Frost do?" And I took the path less graveled, and that made all the difference!
Sunny Flower's Familiy
This trail is a less traveled trail in Fullerton, in part perhaps because of the steep stretches it contains. I thought about Frost's poem, The Road Not Taken, as I ran. It reminded me of my own life. Like the narrator in the poem, 
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

 (I took a road, just one less traveled by.) 

Yesterday, I started rereading a book I read for the first time in 1976, Be Here Now, by Ram Dass. As a result, I enjoyed today's run even more. I also am rereading The Ultimate Beginners Running Guide: The Key  to Running Inspired.  As a result, I ran with better form. One of the "prizes" I got from last week's 10K along this same hilly path are two slightly blackened toenails. I changed the way I laced up my shoes, and I made sure I landed softly on the side of my foot. I also practiced leaning into hills as I walked up them, leaning from the ankles, not the waist. 
Hibiscus at Cal State Fullerton 

One other epiphany along the trail was encountered at the vista points. At one vista point, I missed the vista and instead watched some golfers teeing off. Silly me. How often have I missed the point of the life lesson because I looking around at others, instead of paying attention to lesson? On the way back, I ignored the golfers and took in the vista. The experience made me wonder about how many of life's lessons I'm still missing due to inattention? Vistas can be epiphanies, but they aren't always. It was a reminder to me to stay awake!
The start and finish line of my first 5K.
So, those were some of reflections on the trail from this morning. Parts of the run I just enjoyed the crunch of my feet on the path, the breeze in my face, or the "good morning" of a fellow biker/hiker/jogger. Sometimes, I just enjoyed the company of the ants, birds, bees, and squirrels. I like the road less traveled by. You?