Friday, October 3, 2014

Long Run 20 Miles

If the thought of running 18 miles was making me nauseous two weeks ago, well then, let's just call me nervous for 20 miles. Nervous as in, many toilet stops before I was finally out the door. Nervous as in, making up goofy songs and texting them to Bill. Nervous as in I could not settle down for the first four miles.

Me, 4 miles in and I can't crack a smile.
I take in some nutrition and hit the trail to Cambridge. I read and follow many people who run in the mountains and other such breath-taking places. No one would call my gravel, limestone, dirt and grass paths as stunning. I decide that I will have to let the miles be my adventure. I come upon two riders and their horses. Later I pass a mother runner with a little one in a stroller. I notice the Heart of Iowa trail east of Cambridge is the loveliest it has ever been. The leaves are changing and falling in the most beautiful way. I see but all I manage to take is a picture of my Honey Stinger waffle sitting on my shoe while I refill my water bottle. 
This trail is crushed limestone except for the paved entry points.

Heading back to Huxley on the trail, I notice a monarch butterfly following me. I let it keep my attention. And the fields have changed. I have run past these in bitter winter when the beauty was frozen tight. I have run past these in spring when the newness couldn't be contained. I have run past these in summer when the sun's rays dictate that growing is the season. And now I have run past these in flush of fall where the fields surrender their efforts over to fruit. It's a beautiful change. 

Once back on the home gravel roads, I notice not one but many caterpillars scrambling across the road. Where are they going? The podcasts and earbuds are tucked away for this final stretch. It's back to me and my legs and my mind and my heart. There is a lot of headspace time in 20 miles. Where will it take me?

Not a Monarch caterpillar

I'm on familiar territory. I see more butterflies. They are like a gift. I search for them now. I keep running, hoping to see another. I'm 18 miles in and my body does not ache like it did last week. My spirit soars. I will finish 20 miles.

I stick to my planned route and discover I could make it 21 miles. The body wants to be home but the heart says go a little more and I stay out. While my focus is intent on the next mile, my heart yearns for another butterfly. Almost giving up yet treasuring the gift of what I had already seen, I embark on the last mile of pavement. In my fatigue I manage to glance to my left and behold what is growing but a field of purple clover and in it dancing another butterfly!

"There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly" Buckminster Fuller*  

Upon reaching home, I ache from the exertion. Rest eludes my body. Neither standing, nor sitting, walking nor laying down help. I hurt. And now the waves of the mental storm rage. That's 21 miles. How will I go longer? How will I not be out there forever? How come I am so slow? They beat hard against me. I try not to give rise to them. I anchor myself in truth. This is the work I'm supposed to do. No change is done without effort, without pain. This is the farthest I have ever run. 

I truly have not embraced that yet. Perhaps because next week is 22 miles. Perhaps because 31 still waits out there. Perhaps because I'm waiting for some brilliant flash when the change lies in the every mile. 

Next week- 22 miles

*I first read that quote while sitting in the DHS office with Mama B almost a year and a half ago. She has moved away and we aren't in touch anymore.


Post a Comment

Thanks for reading. Kind comments are always welcomed!