When life gives you “Trail Closed” signs…

After a few unsatisfactory sessions on the treadmill (it is SOOOO warm in that room!) I was ready to try running in the real world again, no matter how bad the weather might be. Fortunately yesterday was a beautiful day. As I set out from my usual jumping-off point for the Olympic Discovery Trail (ODT), it was 45 degrees, dry, and absolutely calm. I was warmed up and happy within the first mile.

I’d planned to run an easy 6 miles, 3 out and 3 back. For various reasons I hadn’t run more than 5.3 miles since way back at the Victoria half marathon in early October. So I didn’t want to push hard, but I really did want to cover some miles.

I knew that the trail was closed approximately 3 miles out from my starting point, but I wasn’t sure of the exact location. This section of the ODT was shut down in early November for “an indefinite period” while a contractor does some work related to cleanup of an old closed mill site as well as wastewater management upgrades necessitated by the Elwha dam removals.

I was running along really easily, enjoying the music that my iDevice was randomly serving me. Anytime “Chariots of Fire” comes up during a run, that’s a wonderful thing, right? That and a few other songs that are especially meaningful for me… songs that have sustained me through unhappy times or that I associate with high points in my life. I watched the birds on the nearly still water just offshore — a dozen or so common mergansers were an exceptionally nice sight to contemplate.

Then just ahead I saw this:

20121128-195259.jpg

There it was. 2.93 miles and I wasn’t going one step more in that direction!

So I turned around.

On my way back I found myself awash in pleasant emotions. I thought about vacations my family took during my childhood. I thought about how, in those days of few divided highways and fewer interstates, long detours on bumpy roads were commonplace. I thought about how my mom would break into song during those detours:

Detour, there’s a muddy road ahead.
Detour, paid no mind to what it said.
Detour, all these bitter things I find.
Should have read that detour sign.

Wikipedia tells me Spade Cooley and his orchestra, with Tex Williams on vocals, recorded that song in 1946 and it was a big hit for them. I actually have that recording on my various iDevices, and although it did not come up randomly during my run yesterday, it’s the song that played in my head long after I got back to my car.

Besides thinking about vacation memories, I found myself simply loving the run. Feeling good with every step. I love to run.

I don’t do this to lose weight or inches (although I did lose them). It’s not about healing my damaged feet anymore. It’s not even about escaping from or coping with life’s problems. I simply love to run.

When life gives you detours, you find a way around them. When life gives you a “Trail Closed” sign just short of your planned turnaround point, you run joyfully back and forth across the Morse Creek bridge as you’re finishing your run, just so your GPS watch will tick over to 6.0 miles.

There’s always a way. Under, over, around, or through. One step at a time. One foot in front of the other. With gratitude and happiness in each and every moment!

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Posted on November 28, 2012, in LIfe_goes_on, Philosophy, Running and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Awesome, awesome post! I really needed to read this today. Thanks for sharing. I am applying this to my current situation.

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