Sunday, B and I took the dogs to the prairie for a hike and some rock-pile scrambling. What we call the prairie is a 30 acre vacant field of urban wilderness. It’s a dog paradise, and a tonic for tired city souls needing a little open space and emptiness, hidden away on the west side. All had a wild time, chasing, tracking, sniffing snow for rabbit tracks, and playing kings and queens of the mountains. Zeus ran until his feet were bleeding, then ran some more, grinning the whole time.
We piled back into the truck, all muddy and satisfied, and headed back to the block. Fed the pups, and dropped Zeus off at home then it was our turn to run- this time indoors, at her gym. I haven’t been in a gym about 10 years probably… not since college the first time around, but was happy to take her up on the invite. We ran 4 miles on the treadmill… I still can’t believe I did that.
Usually I get winded or give up halfway down the block, and only do it for the dog’s benefit. Bella, especially, needed as many ways to blow off steam as possible, so I’d sprint a bit with her on most walks but never far or long. Zeus is more mellow, and this long winter has kept us both cooped up. I haven’t run for running’s sake in many, many years.
We ran 2.2 miles at a lazy pace, walked about a quarter mile and drank water, then ran some more. I wanted to quit a few times, as did she, but since it was never the same time we both kept going, sometimes chatting, sometimes lost in thought and space and endorphins. She was shooting for a 5k run, and we both had to push to get there… but we did, and then kept going. 50 or so minutes and 4 miles in we called it and walked for a while. Could maybe have gone farther but glad I didn’t push it any more. I felt like my legs were made of jelly getting off, and they definitely would have melted if I’d gone longer, leaving me in an embarrassing red-faced puddle on the floor. Luckily I made it across the room and settled down onto the fake grass (So. Weird) with my water bottle, surrounded by medicine balls and kettle bells and a giant rope and other implements. All I needed was the floor, and time, and some “intuitive yoga”… that is, doing whatever stretch or movement that my body told me that it needed and taking lots of deep breaths. We both stretched for a long time, talked, did a few girly- pushups, then hit the shower. Then the rewards… first a quick soak in the hot tub, then back to the cabin for beers and black bean, cheese, and carrot burritos with salsa from last year’s garden. All the noms, and couldn’t have tasted better.
She’s got 3 guest passes left, so we’re gonna try to go once a week for the rest of the month, then keep it up outside- should be thawed by then enough for “the old man jogging club”, which is how she describes her preferred pace, which is good, ’cause that’s about my only speed. We’ll jog with the dogs, or anyone who wants to join us, and on off days, strength train by shoveling and spreading the massive mountains of composting horse manure that are across and down the street. Thank you, unnamed garden angel who delivered them! I feel great today, but sore for sure. I slept like a rock, no question about that, and woke with a fresh mind and stiff limbs. I ache, but it’s the good kind that reminds you that you’re alive and getting stronger.
Dang, why wasn’t I doing that all winter? Next year, maybe I’ll join for the worst months, if nothing else to get really warm in the sauna, thaw these cold bones. Gyms are weird, but I think I could deal. Cheaper than therapy or a spa habit I suppose. Seriously, I feel so good, even though my hips are sore, my muscles are pleasantly achy, and even the tops of my toenails are tired. Time for some new sneakers… Here’s to a new season, and healthy habits, and the return of the light! We’re finally getting a thaw and a break in the weather. I rode without a scarf this morning, and the sun is shining on the increasingly muddy and retreating snowbanks. Crocuses, coming soon!
And now, more shots from the wild gymnasium …
Industrial circus tricks… wire walking on the post-apocalyptic balance beam. B made this look easy. It was not, at least on the skinny edge that she did. I walked the wide plank and then bailed.
Trail running along the ridgeline of loose granite.
So. Much. Love.