Monday, October 13, 2008

Thankful....just thankful

I just love this time of year. The smell of fall, the brilliant colors of leaves hanging from the trees, although only temporary, and a plethora of trails within our National Park to immerse ourselves into. While out there, I often think of the thousands upon thousands of northeast Ohio residents who have no idea what a gem exists right in their back yard. Most places like this are not surrounded completely by suburbia...you have to travel to them. Not so right here. Sure, our economy in Ohio is depressed, and many are gloom-n-doom about this Midwest state, but there is MUCH to be seen and explored right here if you just simply get out there and explore.

Why to say all this? I'm thankful. Period. Thankful for many things, but to name a few:

1. Thankful for miles and miles of nationally protected land that on Saturdays, many of us call "home."
2. Thankful for friends to share these trails with. We all have a resume, a job that beckons us on Monday morning, a family, and endless responsibilities. However, we're all the same when we hit the trails together.
3. Thankful that the Lord did what He did when creating this awesome work. Whatever your religious views, you have to admit that it's quite a "work of art" created not by man.
4. Thankful for the ability to run and run....and run some more. I am sure to never take this for granted as it can be snatched away at the blink of an eye. Value and respect every run and make it count.
5. Thankful for my family who supports me and doesn't give me a hard time when I'm away from home and escaping from the computer and ringing cell phone. This weekend was a good example.

As Red commented a few days back, she prefers my mental guts over video of the trails. Here are my guts! (happy, Red?!) I ran about 13.5 on Friday (as you literally saw on the last post), ran an easy 5 before church yesterday, and then had a phenomenal long trail run this morning. This is probably the first day that I've been truly thankful for my federal job that I got in April. Federal holidays rock! I met up with Vince again at Happy Days as we ran the Ledges/Pine Grove/Lake/Cross Country/Salt Run/Haskell and a portion of Boston Run...for 12 miles. Always great conversation with Vince...but like I say often, what's said on the trail...stays on the trail! VR headed off to open the store and I drove a couple miles down the road to Pine Lane and headed out to Boston Store, headed to the Brandywine Trail trail head, then turned back and traced my steps back to my car. There were a few points that I just had to stop and stand there in awe and take in the 360 degree view around me. So unbelievably gorgeous. You know about 1 mile out from Boston Store when you come to that huge tree that came down a year ago? Well, a path has now been cut so no need to cross it or go around. Just past that, you've probably stopped and looked out over the interstate. I did today and I gotta tell you, you do the same if you run this route soon. Over the interstate for as far as the eye can see is a puffy mattress-like rolling fall foliage example of what I'm talking about. I just stood there and stared...trying to permanently remember it...as it'll all be gone soon.

OK...enough spillage, already! At the end of the run, I had racked up 22 miles for an extended weekend mileage just over 40 miles. Perfect training 3 weeks out from Mount Masochist in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Afterwards, since Marjie was at work all day and the kids were at school, my day continued to lunch at Aladdin's in Hudson. I think I salivated all the way there just dying for my favorite dish, the Mujadara Plate. It's a "bed of steamed lentils and rice topped with Lebanese Salata and garnished with fried onions. In the picture, it looks more like a pile of fried onions, but that's just the surface. The middle "Salata" mixture is a combo of green onions, green peppers, tomatoes, and some other unidentifiable things for this non-cooking running guy. A vegetarian dish, as well, for those of you looking for that. Just before that came out, I ordered up some hummus. Unfortunately, there is no one-person version of it so half of that is in the fridge right now. Afterwards, I used my $5 gift card at Cali Juice (courtesy of NEO Trail and the YUT-C 50K last month), had the Mulholland, and headed on home.

“It’s the other sound that keeps me from falling asleep – the sound of mindless thoughts flitting through my head. I have heard a million people say that running is the most boring activity that they can possibly imagine. Since I’m sure I’m not any smarter or wittier than these people, I can only guess that they never learned to listen as they run. If they did, they would surely be entertained and informed by their own thoughts. How strange that running, which seems so outwardly physical, is actually the most thought-full of activities. If you slow down and pay attention, you will be amazed at what you hear. And you will find that the thoughts that surface during a workout run strong and true through all the parts of your life.”
(from Amby Burfoot’s “The Runner’s Guide to the Meaning of Life.”)

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