A gentle 9 miles in a flurry of snow fall. The hilly terrain allowed me to practice patience as the hill dropped below, crested and I was released to feel the energy of the downhill pull me toward it. I tried to focus on this feeling. How the varying degree of climb actually felt. I ran with strength and not speed, with patience and not hurry and the climbs became so interesting. The tension would slowly build in my legs, then- my legs would adjust and adapt and I felt normal in this climb.
As the hill would relent I could sense the release of its grip and my stride opening up without a change effort. These are innate things we know, but to fully experience them is something else. To back off the pace on these easy days and allow the gasping of breathe to occur another time, to renew the self in this type of run. It was essentially a runner's renewal through the medium of a hill.
Earlier in the run... near halfway I could sense something around me. I had been following the grade of the river for a few miles. I watched as the water made its way down the course. Large icicles dangled, growing from the mist around the river's drops... snow falling gently in my tiny universe. Still feeling something in my presence I heard a twig snap. I looked over my left shoulder and slightly behind me. There, ran a small doe, pacing off me on a peaceful Sunday morning.
I have read of these encounters, deer and elk running with humans... but to be honest it never seemed really plausible. But today, for a short moment I was fortunate to have that joy.
A succesful weekend! 38 miles total, two very hilly runs. I thought a lot of those brave runners on Mt. Mitchell this weekend, running 40 miles is unreal winter conditions.