February 7, 2017

The temperate California Bay Area forest is alive in the Winter rain season, shifting and changing more dramatically than in the dusty heat of Summer and Fall. The rains pull soil out from under trailside trees exposing a complexity of roots. I wonder when this big old tree will lose it’s footing and come crashing down. A good number have already fallen on this well traveled trail making much work for the rangers and their saws.

Sometimes when I’m out in the rain running I will hear a loud cracking followed by a thud and I know a tree has fallen somewhere in the forest. I hear it more often than you might think. A few days ago at dusk as I was making my way through a shadowy bend on Golden Spike Trail I heard two owls in a call and response, one a little deeper and slower than the other as if it were saying, “be patient” to the other. Or maybe to me! It’s an effort to keep my energy contained now, so close to race day. I’m amazed at how far I’ve come. I’m ready. It’s a good sign if you’re not burnt out 2 weeks before your race. It’s a good sign if you’re antsy to get going. This is where I’m at. Yet the training has taught me to pace, to contain my energy, to have patience and so I will stay present, stay focused on the day’s work and continue moving steadily toward the goal.

Today’s work was 16 strong miles. That distance now feels like what 8 miles felt like a few months ago. The last 3 miles were downhill by design. I’m working on my downhill form, trying to flow with the pull of gravity. The key is to lean forward just a bit. As soon as you lean back you are breaking and that is stressful on the body. There is trust involved. I like to visualize my hip socket as a wheel. What a gift when you’ve spent enough time listening to the minutiae of your body that you can relax into it, trusting that your muscles will carry you. This saying of the Asaro tribe of Papua New Guinea comes to mind,“Knowledge is only a rumor until it lives in the muscle.”