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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Third Run's the Charm

Slish slosh pffffft, tip-toe tip-toe, squish, squish SLOSH
The ground beneath me slips and slunks with each fall of the foot.

The slushy sheet of ice hisses and rumbles, settling in a muffled crunch beneath the feet.

Pffft, pffft, whip, shoop
Trying to avoid the large puddle in the middle of the trail, I skirt the edge, my legs taking a lashing from the overgrowth.

Breathing in and out nearly effortlessly, I feel my legs moving wildly beneath me.  I look down to make sure they're still attached.  Each step is springy and filled with more energy than I've known all week.  My lungs take in big gulps of fresh forest air, it's intoxicating.

Swish, swish, swish
The quiet sound of sunburned grass as we climb a short hill and make our way onto the wide open prairie section, sun warming our backs, eyes squinting behind dark lenses.  "This is the section that makes you hate life in the summer because the sun is so hot, but it's the section that makes you love life in the winter because the sun is so hot," I say, smiling, as we ease up slightly to bask a little longer in the unexpected warmth.

My legs, I swear they are not my own.  There is so much spring in them!  I could run for days!

Shhhhhmmmmmmm, pooooooooooooof, shhhhhhmmmmmmmm, poooooooooooooof
Breathing heavier as we march up the steep rolling hills on the back half of the loop.

Zoooooooooooooosh!!!  Shoooooooom!
As we fly down the other side of the roller, only to be nearly knocked backward by the next steep climb.  And so it goes for the last few miles.  "Uuuuughhhh!  How did I forget this part!"  He growls.  I laugh a smile quietly ahead of him, his announcement breaking the serene quiet of the woods, but know that the tables would soon turn on the next loop.  "You just take a little longer to warm up."

The trailhead is in sight, and the car just beyond it.  Cold water awaits us there.  I down half of it, mixed with a delicious sweet n' salty elixir, and hand it over for him to finish off.  Eat a little bit, and then we're off once more, heading in the opposite direction.  "Let's get the rollers over with first this time."  The spring in my step is now punctuated with a slight twinge of fatigue, and I immediately know...the tables have turned.

Head down, lets get 'er done.  I knew this time would come.

We finish off the planned 20 miles, quickly change and race down the road to grab a treasured bite at the general store before it closes.  Turkey never tasted so good.

It's just early enough that the sun has yet to make its first ascent, but by the looks of it the sun has no intention of making an appearance on this morning.  Rain and wind collide with our windows and though we try to bargain, we know there's only one thing to do...it's Tuesday, and that means Ten Miles :)

The wind whips and swooshes my bare calves as we wind along the hardened path.  It's chilly, but still feels like early spring.  Not all engines are firing, but still I feel decent enough to continue on.  My feet already miss the soft forgiveness of the forest floor and grumble in angst over the concrete. 

We run in silence, each quietly hoping the rain holds off.  The effort feels higher than usual and we both show it on our faces.  We promised ourselves this Tuesday tradition.  We gallop on.  "It'll be after 8:00 if we go the whole way."  "I'm okay with that.  We've gotta finish."

The turnaround comes unceremoniously, and we head back, into the wind now.  The rain clouds hover above, waiting for the perfect moment to unleash.  Saturated and heavy, they are ready to wring themselves out.  But, still nothing.  The pace picks up a little, and it feels good.  Very good. 

I reach over and touch the small of his back, a gesture of heart.  A little smile, we're almost done.

"We must have really picked it up on the way back.  The second half was much faster."  Yesssssssssss.

Another one in the books.

Hoooowwwwwwl, whiiirrrrr, WOOSH!
The wind has a mind of its own today.  "Holy eff, it's cold outside!"  Guess we better break out the winter tights again.

The wind is in a fist fight with our windows.  Ominous at best.

A day off made the legs antsy for a run, and stepping out the front door we are smacked with a stiff wind. 


"I'm glad I wore three layers!"  Heads down, we make our way to the lakefront.  Running south, we know we are going to pay for it heading home.  My ponytail is playing tag with my face, whipping my eyes from either side.  The tailwind is strong and urges us along the path. 

Errrrralllll, errrralll, errrrrrralll...flap, flap, soooooar
Flocks of geese circle above, picking out where to land next.  This inhospitable spot of water, or that one?  I imagine they have a misinformed leader, one that brought them back north a little too early in the season.  The leader's name is Earl :)  Clearly, Earl didn't get the memo that March here is still quite wintery. 

Slip, slide, whoa!
He catches a patch of ice, elegantly catching his balance mid-slide and dashing to the side of it.  "I've got cat-like reflexes!" he announces.

The turnaround comes so soon, and now it's time to pay mother nature for her generous tailwind.  We turn and bow our heads, the wind cutting straight through to the bone.  Eyes watering like leaky faucets, we are bent nearly completely over, pushing our way forward.  I imagine that if the wind were to suddenly stop, we would fall flat on our faces.  Kerplunk!  What little I can feel of my face I can feel a smile.  It's sort of fun, this windy run.

Quads are burning from the strong resistance, my feet whipped behind me each time they lift.  I feel nearly weightless.  We are bullied about by the wind, our stringy figures pushed to and fro. 

Across the bridge, a brief respite from the wind.  We kiss, and he makes his way northward for six more, and I home. 

I'm so over this wind :) 

Paige, out.


Gretchen said...

I'm totally sending my students to this post for examples of onomatopoeia. ;)

Thanks for taking us along on your runs, Paige! I had a great time, even with all the wind. Loved that hot sun spot that sucks in the summer but is oh so sweet in the winter. mmmmm, yeah. I can feel it.

Eric B said...

I like the sound effects. "Hoooowwwwwwl, whiiirrrrr, WOOSH" was my favorite. Nice post Paige.

Paige said...

Oooo, onomatopoeia...I had to look that up as I completely forgot what it was, LOL! Does that make me a poet, without even knowin' it? ;) Thank you for 'joining' me on my runs, Gretchen, happy to have you along! And you, too, Eric!

Gene Taylor said...

"Pffft, Pffft, Whip, Shoop" definitely my favorite of the post; wonderful verbalization of some of my running experiences of the past. I love it !!!
Yes Paige, you are a poet with this post. You nailed so many running experiences in one multi-paragraph narrative. Here Here.

Paige said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paige said...

Thanks, Gene! We were running the Kettle Moraine in that one :)

Rusty Shackleford said...

Love the sounds effects. I've often wondered how to describe the oak leaves shaking in the wind in the winter, the ice covered branches of a maple tree clacking together, the snow hissing over the ground as it blows around.

I really enjoyed going along for your runs! Thank you for taking us with you.

Paige said...

@Michael, oak leaves are kind of like soft maracas, "schik schik, schik schik", and ice-covered branches clacking together would be sort of like, "click cluck, click cluck", like wooden wind chimes. The snow, "sssssssssssss, shoooo, sssssssss"


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