I am so excited about a "long" run -- it's Sunday, and I am going to drive to Sabino for four miles on trails. I haven't trail run since April. Now that physical therapy has catapulted me from limping while walking to actual 2-3 mile walk/jogs, I am ready to hit the trails.
My car disagrees with me. The battery is dead.
My valiant knight in a beige Suburu comes to the rescue. Chris drops me off at Sabino and promises to return in a little over an hour. As we pull up, I see a gaggle of trail runners at the trailhead -- TTR held a run this morning! I run to grab a hug from "That's what I'm talking 'bout" Bob and then see Troy, who I paced at JJ100 last year and haven't seen in ages. Talking to him is David, a fellow pacer at JJ100 last year. I'm so exctied -- it's been too long since I've interacted with fellow trail runners. Troy decides to do a cooldown by running with me, so we take off down toward Phoneline.
When I'm in training, I utilize Phoneline to do 9-mile laps. Up the trail, sidelining high above the canyon for five miles, then down, down, down the tram road. My intention this morning is not so ambitious. I just want to get up Phoneline to the Cutoff trail, which will take me to the tram road and back out for about 3.5 miles. I'll run a little back up the trail I started to get the full 4 miles I want.
I explain my Garmin is set for 2min walk/2 min run, and we start talking like we just saw each other last week. Conversation flows as easily as my feet follow the trail. It feels so good to be out moving again, getting out of breath. We hit the major hill, which I used to walk -- even in training, and Troy hears my Garmin beep. "That means it's time to run, right?" he asks as I continue walking. "Yeah, but it's uphill!" I protest. "Well, just run 50 steps, then walk 50 steps or until you catch your breath." Well, that's easy enough, I think, so I give it a try. Sure enough, I'm granny-shuffling my way up Phoneline, 50 steps run, 50 steps walk. My knee and hamstring are solid, there's no pain, twinges or tingles. The endorphins are flowing through my body and I remember that this is why I run.
We finally hit the downhill and I fly, fly, fly. My favorite part! At the bottom, it's smooth and fun, and even though my Garmin beeps at me to walk, I ignore it, reveling in the freedom of flying down the hill. I extend my arms out to my side and travel back and forth across the trail, flying like an airplane. Wheeeeeeeeee.......
We hit the road and make our way out, walking the last majorly steep hill. On the backside of that, within sight of the Visitor's Center, I feel my first tingle in my hamstring and decide to just walk it out for a good cooldown. Upon arriving at the trailhead, we see Renee, whom I haven't seen in ages either. I take off down the trail to get my last half-mile in and when I return, another old friend has just finished his trail run and so I catch with him. Then I see my friend Mo who just finished her run as well. I can't believe how many of my friends are at the trailhead! I rest in the shade, waiting for Chris to arrive to pick me up, and I am grateful for a boyfriend who will drive 20 minutes out of his way -- twice -- to get me to the trails, seeing so many old friends, lucking into fantastic running buddy, and most of all, I am grateful for the health to be able to run at all.