Running had started to become easier, and with that ease came joy, and with that joy, came the desire to run more and make it yet easier. I suppose this is a tenuous ride, but I decided that I didn’t want to get off. It started in middle age, which can be a good thing. By starting later, you are not comparing yourself to a past that you can’t compete with. This merry go round had been going for about 20 years now and the ride operator must have quit without notice. There might be a minor set back here or there, but I had become accustomed to the ride to the extent that I thought it would never end. I easily trick myself into thinking that many things will never end. Running and fitness greatly enhanced my love for nature and exploration. Climbing this mountain, hiking that canyon and racing those people. These are activities that become so much more enjoyable when you get faster and they become more effortless.
For some reason, my running had started to become just a little less joyous. To remedy the situation, ‘I had better get after it’ I thought. It seemed that my foot landings were becoming a little more jarring, so I had the great idea of buying Hoka, running shoes, the ones with the most cushion possible. I was going to be running on pillows. This had never been a need before but what the heck, why not, simple solution.
I was working in Louisville, Kentucky for a week or so and decided to take my new Hokas for a run. I started down a paved trail on top of a levee. It did not seem that joyous for some reason but it was OK. On the north side of the Ohio river, just downstream of downtown, I discovered an area of the river that was something of a beautiful, awesome section of rapids complete with large boulders to scramble over. Who knew that Louisville had such a magnificent nature playground? These discoveries are one of the joys of running. As I hopped from boulder top to boulder top, my ankles kept twisting on the landings, with almost disastrous results. We get so good at gauging what we are capable of. “These DAMN HOKAS are going to KILL ME”, I exclaimed. ‘How could they sell shoes that were so dangerous?’ I thought, vowing to never use them again. Problem solved.
Later that day, I had the need to trade my Hocas for my bicycle and then ride extremely fast, thus shaking off the bad experience with the shoes that were out to get me.
Somewhere around the same time, my Adventure Race team and I were transitioning from the canoe to the start of a run, during a wet and windy race. My legs had become so cold while sitting in the boat that when I started to run, my legs seemed to be flopping around under me. I felt that it was rather comical and I laughed at myself. I could not quite keep up with my teammates no matter how hard I tried. ‘Who’d of thought that cold legs could be so damn funny’.