quieting your mind, feeding your soul, and running

This morning I went running from home, with the goal of doing a fairly easy 12 miles.  I’m planning on running the Seattle Marathon next weekend, so it’s taper time.  It was one of those morning when my motivation wasn’t very high.  It was chilly out (about 39), and the ground’s pretty wet from a fair bit of rain recently.  I’ve been contending with some low back pain the past couple of days.

Thing is, I have a goal of completing at least 30 miles per week.  So far, I’ve only failed to do this just once this year (owing to a minor injury back in July).  Also – I wanted to try my legs on one more run longer than 5 miles before the marathon.

artichoke basket corncob dragonfly

I took off around 10 this morning, and headed up over to Bridle Trails State Park.  The trail wasn’t too bad, despite the rain.  I ran around the western, southern, and eastern sides of the park before picking up the Bridle Crest Trail.

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I used to walk this trail a lot when I was recovering last year.  And I’ve run it a bunch, usually in the morning doing a quick loop from the gym.  It winds downhill for a couple of miles.  I had some minor excitement along this trail, taking a spill while running through a city park.  Apparently I’d not seen how slippery the mud would be as I went up a small hill.  So I gained a nice layer of mud on my gloves, and along my right side.

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Just after my spill, I met a guy walking down the steeper stretch from 156th down to West Lake Sammamish Parkway.  We shared a very pleasant few minutes, visiting and talking about all the great trails to run and walk on locally. 

lariat moonbeam nest egg

At the end of the trail, I meandered through some of the smaller trails in Marymoor Park, eventually running through the dog park.  There were a bunch of people and dogs out there this morning, probably more than I’ve seen before.  Several times, I had to tiptoe past the dogs who were wrapped up in socializing with their friends on a Saturday morning in the park.

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The trail winds around the north end of Lake Sammamish, and parts of it were under ankle-deep water.  I braved it, and then circled back towards the Bridle Crest Trail again.  I’d run this part lots of times before – occasionally doing hill repeats on the half mile trip up from the parkway to 156th.  The trick is trying to start out slowly enough to negative split.

root out stick in the mud

Along the way, I began playing a game with myself that I’d played as a kid on long car trips.  This time last year I also did this to test my memory as I walked this same stretch of trail, while heading to or from physical therapy.  At the time I was recovering from a bike accident, and felt concern about how my memory was faring.

teeming undertake vitriol waxing

I would play the ‘picnic’ game – reciting words that began with each letter of the alphabet in sequence.  I’d go a, then ab, abc, abcd, and so on.  Then I’d go backwards – zyxw …. Finally, I’d skip every other letter going down, then in reverse catching the others.  It’s funny what a little game can do for your confidence, when you’re worried about such things.  It also passes the time very nicely as well.

xenotype yaw zest

By the time I’d run through all of these sequences, I was just ten minutes from home, and back in Bridle Trails State Park.  My back felt better, and I felt more relaxed than I’d been all week.  There’s something about going out and getting yourself to focus on something that can’t be hurried (like running distance). 

This morning, it was a great way for me to feed my soul.

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