It's January. I head up to the overlook on a trail close to home. It's quite early in the morning. The temps are biting cold, and the city lights are glowing off the remnants of a quickly passing overnight storm. Aside from my winter running gear and regular trail shoes shod with screws for tread – I'm stripped down to nothing. No watch, no phone, and my headlamp refuses to ignite due to me leaving it in the car overnight (batteries are too cold to turn on). I decide that it's bright enough, so I leave it in the car. The trail has a thick slab of ice under 6" of fresh snow, it's slicker than dog snot and hard as granite. Grateful that my shoes grab the ice and propel me forward.
I sigh that I was rushed to leave the house and I get discouraged that I can't document the morning on the mountain as it is truly gorgeous with the new snow. But the feeling of lightness and disconnect is novel – even though the city is right behind me – I feel alone and pure. The tone is fresh and my movement feels free, even with the polypropylene layers. My legs burn and my core warms up while I lunge through the snow, increasing the diagonal slope. I feel an elevated sense of connection today. As hike turns to run I feel more alert and cognitive with every foot-strike. The foundations are there today, there's more truth aimed at what I set out for - fresh air and movement. I feel good.
I'm reminded that running directs the body to move quickly and simply. I continue to move with intent and engagement this morning. I think about how we, as runners, are too confined to the digital devices and data charts. We stress over hitting our weekly goals and how hitting x-number of miles defines us as a certain caliber of runner – I'm guilty of that – I think we all are. Take a day to lay the foundations and feel the purity of running again.