There are 2 miles of footsprints behind me in the snow and if one was to follow them they would tell the story of a run being slowly extinguished. Strides start at 5.3 feet apart and I am sailing, clicking off the 6:30 miles pace that I have run so many times it feels like home. Time moves on and I start to feel the burn of the 5 degree temperatures and my transition from being a runner to a cyclist, and thus, the strides slowly get shorter. So 13:20 and two miles into this experiment I decide to lay down in the soft new snow.
So there I am, ass down, arms out in the middle of the forrest looking up at two trees working to become one and trying to forget the failure that is this run. You can justify anything away, “it’s colder than hell out here, most people woud not have even run” “you don’t run that much anymore James, don’t feel bad!” “isn’t it true that you are on vacation?” “Nobody will ever even know, you are 2 miles into the deep sunset stained adirondack woods.” Like I said it wasn’t hard to feel OK about it and honestly I was feeling fairly centered and peaceful, that was until the blue eyes.
It was a surreal moment, I sat up startled and found myself looking directly into these incredibly bright blue eyes belonging to a dog not far down the evolutionary slide from his brother the wolf. And that is all he did, look at me, not barking, not panting just staring me down and I felt strangely naked and cold. Maybe my imagination got the best of me, but for a minute I felt like this incredible dog was judging me for laying in the snow, disappointed in me for giving up when it was easiest to do so. Again, it seems ridiculous now, but I was convinced that he just wanted me to go a little bit further and with two pats on the head I set off down the trail, footprints a perfect 5.3 feet apart and my breath stretched out infront of me.
3 miles later I was rounding the bend that took me off the dirt roads back into town and a pick up screamed by from behind and from the cab of the truck those two beautiful eyes looked right at me and give 3 quick barks. Call me crazy but I took it as a compliment.