This morning I have returned to run the bike trail along the American River. Blurred together in my mind are many fond memories of previous weekend runs starting at this very spot. This is my first time coming here this year.
It is a cool, clear April morning, not too cold, and dry. I stand right where the trail passes under the Howe Avenue overpass. Cars whiz by directly above me. As I start heading down the trail, making sure to stay on the left side of the path, the American River flows to my right in its current state of great abundance, a product of our very wet California winter.
As I settle into a running rhythm, I feel the sweet appreciation of being being back on the trail. Moments into my run, several runners I know pass on the opposite side. “Hi Chris!” one shouts. In the sunlight I can make out someone I trained with for CIM a year and a half ago. “Good morning!” I respond.
I am using the walk/run technique, wherein I walk one minute after every three minutes of running. Today I am aiming for 10-minute miles, which is thirty seconds faster than I have generally gone for the past few weeks. Yesterday, the chiropractor I have been working with since December suggested it was fine for me to speed up a bit.
I have been following my healing program faithfully, resisting the urge to go too fast or push my mileage. Last month I ran over 70 miles, far less than the 100+ miles I generally ran over the past three years, but almost double what I ran the month before. This month I expect to exceed 80 miles, but in the same easy-going manner my running has taken on recently.
The bike trail is lush with happy nature: green bushes, green trees, and green long grass. As usual for a Saturday morning, it is quite popular: I pass many runner, and some bicyclists, on the first mile alone. I feel a sense of ease being here today. I appreciate not feeling the internal pressure of intense training programs I did over the past few years. I like feeling good as I move my body.
I think to myself, “I’m here to have an enjoyable journey.”
It has been many months since I have been out here. I have been patient. It feels like I’m at a happy turning point.
My run ends up being 7 miles at just 70 minutes. This is only the second time I have run this far this year. Last year I ran 20-, 23-, 26-, and 27.5 mile runs during marathon training. They were long, and each had its own satisfying aspects. Looking back, I don’t think my whole body and mind were aligned.
Now I feel that they are.
Let the enjoyable journey continue…