Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Muscle Memory

Too much nonsense on the brain last week.  Too much clutter.  Was off a step pretty much all week.  As a result, not once last week - from Monday through Friday - did I run.  Not even one time.  Running is normally the elixir for my troubled mind so when there is enough noise going on between my ears that I cannot bring myself to lace up the shoes and run towards silence, it is truly not a happy time. 

Fortunately, this weekend I quieted the voices in my head long enough to get in some much-needed roadwork.  Good for the soul and for the sole.  Running on and over the streets of 'NTSG I logged nineteen miles.  For some, not much of a workout at all.  For me, a pretty solid weekend's work.  

This time of year there are more leaves on the ground than there are in the trees.  As a runner, using sidewalks where and when available to make life easier for drivers and safer for me, this is truly the "leap of faith" time of year.  Presently it is leaves and shortly thereafter it shall be snow and ice.  Whichever occupies the sidewalk prevents me - the person scooting along topside - from knowing what danger, if any, may be lurking below.  

While it is a decidedly inexact science, to a large degree I rely upon muscle memory to avoid stepping onto - and into - sidewalk slabs in need of repair.  I tend to run over the same roads - albeit not every day and not every time I go out.  During this time of the year, I rely in large part on the information my brain has gathered over the course of the past six months regarding the condition of the sidewalks and the streets.  I rely, as well, on my brain's ability to remember if a particular area was in disrepair and to bring that memory up out of storage with at least one stride to spare before I encounter it again.

It was biting cold both Saturday and Sunday - especially so on Sunday when I went for my run at about 8:00 am.  Saturday I ran with music.  Sunday, I did not.  I was accompanied by the sound of my breathing, the sound of my footsteps and the naturally-occurring ambient sounds, such as barking dogs and passing cars.  I did not see a lot of people out and about (other than those hardy folks taking their dog for a walk) but I did run past a couple of houses where kids (in both cases it was a boy) were shooting baskets.  

Towards the end of my run, I ran past a house where a young boy on the front lawn was doing something I did for endless hours as a child:  He was playing football by himself.  I picked him up in my field of vision from far enough away that I was able to see him throw a couple of "self-passes" and execute two pretty nice tackles...on himself.  Although I was approximately eight miles in - and feeling more than a little tired -when I passed by his house, I felt my face forming an ear-to-ear grin as I ran by him, which grin I wore for the rest of my run.       

I do not know if I shall ever again see that young man doing just what he was doing when I passed by him on Sunday morning.  I hope I do.  If not, then I suppose I shall simply have to rely upon muscle memory to remind me of what I saw and where I was when I saw it.  

I reckon that shall be fairly easy to do.  

-AK 

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