Thursday, January 19, 2006

Canyon Run

I went on an exploration run today. It's been hard to get started. I'm all alone in a new place. I get kind of intimidated and overwhelmed. I know it's silly. I'm afraid I'll go out, and some police guy/authority figure will yell, "Hey! You can't run here!" Isn't that weird?

Knowing my fears were ridiculous, I strapped on my running shoes and headed south of the apartment. I explored the community park behind the apartment. It has a 1/2 mile paved path around the perimeter, filled with soccer fields, baseball fields, playgrounds, a par fitness course, picnic tables, basketball courts, and a volleyball court (with sand). Very impressive. I continued south towards the canyon I had discovered a few weeks ago. Paths stretched both east and west. Multilevel trails zig-zagged all the way down to the bottom, where railroad tracks stretched endlessly in both directions. More paths zig-zagged up the the top of the other side of the canyon on the other side. Every now and then, a path would exit the canyon into a new, undiscovered neighborhood. My options were limitless.

Remembering that the canyon "ran out" to the east, I chose the shorter route, too overwhelmed to try the western route. Some paths were flat, some hilly. I couldn't believe my luck. It was so nice to escape the hard pavement and treat my feet to the soft, packed dirt. I reached a bridge, leading up to a road on the other side, one that I recognized from driving around the other day. The trail did not run out, but I decided to turn back, on the other side of the canyon. As I neared the point of entry, I realized running on the opposite side may have been a mistake. Trotting back and forth, I found a narrow path where the grass had been flattened, and followed it to the valley below. It led into a dry creek, completely surrounded by brush. I crouched and listened to my heart pound. It was an adventure. I was excited and on edge. I felt completely hidden. I burst out of the creek bed and made my way up the steep bank, trotting towards the railroad tracks. I was very cautious, eyeing the signs that read, "Danger. Keep out." I felt very exposed as the brush fell away. I approached the tracks timidly, listening, looking. Seeing nothing. Hearing nothing. I darted across the tracks and bounded up the trail to the other side. I felt like a wild deer.

I ended up going much farther than I had intended but it was so energizing and exciting. I can't wait to go back. I'm settling in somewhat. Finally. I feel like there's extra time on my hands to enjoy myself. Not like I normally do, when I'm overwhelmed with things to do. Work starts on Monday. I'm relishing my final days of freedom and trying not to think about how nervous I am about starting my postdoc.


Erin Nicole said...

sounds awesome...when i make it out there, we'll have to run that path!

good luck monday...have a great weekend and do some selfish things before getting back in the grind.

Rachel said...

thanks, erin. I'm hoping to do some whale watching this weekend!

Erin said...

Good luck at your new lab Ra! im sure youre going to publish lots of stuff and discover really cool things.....i got to refill the liquid nitrogen tanks today, it was pretty cool. and stop being so emo.

Cliff said...

Glad you put your fear aside and went for a jog. I always enjoy exploring new running paths and what not.

Looks like your neighbour is a great place to train.

Rita said...

Hey Rachel!
I'm glad you got out and explored! I know exactly how you feel. I feel the same way in St Louis, but after reading your post, I really need to just get up and do what I want.

I hope your first day is going well! I'm looking forward to seeing your post of today.

I miss you.