Sunday, January 28, 2007

Mental Cleansing

I've been doing a lot of cleansing lately - of the soul and of personal artifacts (aka "junk"). It's my mind that has been cluttered recently. There's a lot up in the attic and I don't know what to keep or what to get rid of.

So I went for a run.

We don't own a car, so I had to return the weekend rental to DCA this afternoon. I figured I'd pick up the Mt. Vernon Trail from the airport and do a long run. First off, I didn't know WTF to pick up the trail from the airport and figured I'd get arrested when I started running on sidewalks leading to unknown parts of the airport. Alas, I picked up the trail. It was a perfect day to run in DC because the snowflakes that were falling, which translates to 'snow storm', keeps most people inside and off the road/trails. It was a nice, easy 40 minute run up to the start of the Potomac Heritage Trail. From there, it was a little over 4 miles to Chain Bridge. I picked up the C&O Canal for a mile (about all I can take) before ducking through a storm drain of sorts and hitting the trails through Battery Kemble, picking up Glover-Archibold, Whitehaven Park to Dumbarton Oaks over to Rock Creek Trail. This route follows some of the PHT 50K, so it's a favorite of mine to do.

I needed this run.

Usually when I let my mind wander when I run, I find myself stubbing my toe, tripping or twisting an ankle, and getting really flustered. I've run the PHT so many times that I know it. I know it almost too well. And it was nice when I reached a stretch that didn't look familiar. There aren't too many places to go off the trail, so I kept going.

I let my mind wander. I let myself ponder events of the week; why things that have happened are happening, and why I'm dealing with them the way I am. I was crossing Chain Bridge unsure of myself and of the decisions I've made for myself when the sun came out for probably the first time all day. It shined over my shoulder.

I took it as a sign that, no matter what I decide, someone's got my back. The sun stayed with me the rest of the way.

I had a lot to process and being alone on the trails was the best way to deal with it. I know I have a lot of unanswered questions and more questions than what I had when I started the run, but I have confidence in my current decisions.

Two hours and 45 minutes later, my mind may not be clear, but it is clean and ready for a new week.


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