I haven’t blogged in a while, but I’ve been steadily moving forward, mile by mile, some days inch by inch. I’m slower than ever, my legs don’t seem to remember that they can run long, and motivation is ever a fickle friend. The slowness I can live with; I know the endurance will return; but, motivation is sometimes that mean girl whose a** I want to kick. I know her well enough now to understand that her ebbs and flows are just part of the plan, and I try not to let it keep me from my task. I learned long ago that discipline is more important in running than motivation, so I’m calling on all my reserves to remind me every morning as I get up to go about my day. The mornings that she joins me on my run are inspired and beautiful; but I know I can run without her; and, it seems, I often do. One way I entice her to run with me is to change up my routes, find new running paths, and look for fresh inspiration on every run.
Today was one of those days that motivation deserted me, turning over in bed at the time I needed to rise, and informing me that she was going back to sleep, so I was on my own. I gave her a vicious shove and headed out without her. I headed to our local rails to trails, my go-to trail when I have to run with no motivation. It’s an easy run; very flat and shady; a run I can do on auto pilot. At the stage my training is in right now, that’s often what I need. Runs that remind my legs we can do this, but that don’t require a lot of mind games to accomplish.
I headed out at my usual starting place (Jackson Road station), mind still not on board, and just ran. I love our local rails to trails (Longleaf Trace): no dogs, no traffic, just people like me, intent on getting their workout in. One of the really cool things I discovered about this route last year is that there are numerous trails that lead off the path through the woods that are well marked and easy to follow. I LOVE trail running, but don’t go to many of our trails often, as they are quite a distance to drive, and my man doesn’t really like me to run them by myself. The trails off the Trace, however, are a different story. I’m never far from the main path, so running the trails isn’t quite the lone experience it is in the national forests that surround the other trail runs that are within my reach. On a whim, I darted onto the first trail I came to, Turtle Loop. It is a short one (1.5 miles) and that was just what I needed for today.
This is what greeted me:
It was at that moment that motivation decided she would join me. I smiled and welcomed her, and on we ran. The smell of a Mississippi spring is almost indescribable. More talented scribes than I have attempted it. The odor of spring honeysuckle takes me back to my childhood, carrying me back to simpler, sweeter times. Yes, the sweet smell of spring brings my allergies into screaming awareness, but I love it, all the same. The path melted away under my feet, taking me up several fairly steep inclines, but giving in return the promise of renewed strength and determination. Glorious, spectacular day. Motivation was running right beside me, drinking it all in. I was happy to have her along for the ride.
At the end of my run, as I returned to the Trace, I encountered a little guy who was, perhaps, a little too on point (I was running Turtle Loop, after all). This very determined turtle was climbing up one of the steepest inclines on the trail. I stopped and marveled at him a few moments, taking a photo and realizing how much alike we were, then I headed on down to the path to complete my run.
I’m quite sure that he made it to the top.
I’m thankful that I know that persistence trumps talent, because, as running goes, I have very little talent. I am, however, one very determined old broad who knows that determination can bring about results that talent can only dream about.
Keep moving forward, my friends.