Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Hitting the trails

It's mid-morning, and I am running the dirt path that loops around the city zoo's outer fence. The trail is shaded by many cedars, doug firs, and red alders; I flit from sun to shade and back again, while a herd of elk stares from the slopes of their enclosure.

The last quarter of the trail is a jagged uphill stretch, riven by exposed roots. By the time I get halfway up, I'm shattered. Suddenly, I recall the last time I ran the trail -- another jogger ahead of me ran this part backwards, and he seemed less worse for the wear when we both reached the top. Besides, isn't backwards running supposed to be en vogue, better for the shins, and all that?

I glance up the hill. No hazards in sight, no major roots coming. On rubbery legs, I spin and propel myself up the hill, keeping within a few inches of the fence. Suddenly, my legs are pumping faster and easier than ever. This is great! This is fantastic! Effortless, even! I don't know why I don't do this more--


Everything, from my head to my calves, hurts. I fall forward, but catch myself before I bite it in front of some sort of weird deer with a foot-long, fuzzy tail. Confused, I spin back around. The open trail I saw is not so open: I have run into a tree. A tall, very round tree with fissured bark. The deerthing looks amused. Perhaps I need new contacts.

I am back at my neighbor's house now, cat-sitting. By cat-sitting, I mean toasting my legs in front of the fire while two throw-pillows sprawl bellies-up beside me. That's the beauty of watching cats. You don't have to do a single thing, except occasionally poke your charges to make sure they're still alive. But the head, it sort of hurts, and sadly I couldn't remember why until I poked the sore spot hard and contemplated how I could have smacked the back of my head with such accuracy. Maybe the collision gave me temporary amnesia. I hope so.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There's nothing like a near-concussion to celebrate one's birthday -- Happy Birthday (a day late from me - sorry!)!!!!

~ Your Stanford Bud