Saturday morning long run. 28 degrees. Near still winds. Snow gently tossing as it fell. Accentuating every branch it clung. Half-inch overnight blanket on the trail. Cleared the night before. Smooth as a freshly made bed. Quiet in the city. Few about at five. Squishy sound of snow. Rhythmic under foot. Breath puffing in time. The first to lay tracks. Joyful I run.
Southwest Lincoln Loop I call it. For Lincolnites that wanna know: Northeast from Col. Densmore Park off S. 14th up the Rock Island Trail to Hwy. 2 & 27th turning back Southeast along the Tierra Williamsburg Trail down to the SouthPointe Trail & back West along Pine Lake to 14th. For everyone: these "commuter trails" are 10 foot wide concrete; generally sooner & better cleared of snow than arterial streets; Rock Island is the former railroad of this "rails to trails" section; perfect for snowbound running.
Back to my story.
First seven mile loop: I lay the first tracks. Second loop: I was following my own tracks. Still the only tracks down. About a mile on I think, "Why don't I see if I can step in the same places as my first loop." (Insert your crazy too cold, too early, too whatever runner comment here.)
Precision footsteps. Even when simply running. Are difficult.
Got dizzy trying to watch my feet.
Leaning forward just that extra bit to look down threw off my gait. Reaching a bit further with each step to land it like loop one.
Footing was unstable. When laying the first tracks on my first loop it was even. When trying to match & missing each a bit in loop two it was rough. I was stepping half in & half out of my own tracks.
And even though I'm running on a relatively straight trail with no others about I couldn't see where I was going. My head down watching feet. My eyes weren't ahead anticipating what was coming.
Gave it up in three minutes. More difficult than I'd imagined. Yet, l did learn a few things as the Spirit spoke through the miles ahead.
When following Jesus: keep your eyes on him. Don't worry over every specific step.
Don't try to make each life experience just like the one before. It is an impossibility. You just can't do it. The only way to produce a duplicate is via recording.
Live in the moment. Enjoy each new loop or each new day for what it offers different from the one before. My first loop was all me. Plus three deer & a few bunnies. It was dark expect for some ambient street lights. My second loop had a coon & birdsong & a few other runners by mile 10. The sun was coming up. My third loop had plenty of other runners to exchange passing words with & the sun had changed the look of everything.
Life your life.
Lay your tracks.
(Just in case you wondered: The above photo is not me. First, my trail had more trees. Second, who is gonna take my picture sub-freezing at 5am? And I am, of course, more handsome.)