By Steve Peterson
Time off from running, even if it is enforced, causes me to stir. When my mind wanders from home life or work, I naturally go to running. Will I feel okay the next time? Will I recover eventually and get back to the carefree runs I discovered around the second month of sticking to it? In injury (and other ailments) one starts to think that you will never be healthy again.
|Riding NJ Transit|
I was without car, so I ventured out to Milburn on New Jersey Transit. The trail head sat right across the street from the train station.
What I noticed as I walked up the road to the various trails branching out from the reservation parking lot was how hot and muggy it was. The trip started later than I had originally planned and took longer than I thought to get there, so now I was heading out in the middle of the day. I had 40oz. of water, and what looked like no chance to buy more when I got back to the station.
After a quick two miles, I re-entered the parking lot. Not what I was expecting.
I knew I should have headed out on the Rahway Trail that was marked just before the lot. This was a single, mostly dirt track heading into the dark woods. I decided to head down the trail and see where it would take me.
The rough trail turned through the woods, running along small streams and reservoirs. Every hundred feet or so, I would have to look up quickly to scan the trees in the distance looking for white flashes. Occasionally, I lost sight of them and would have to wander through the pine needles to look for the trail. As I got weaker in and more depleted in the heat, scanning became a dangerous game. Every so often, I'd catch a hard toe on some root or rock and nearly stumble into the water below me. In the end, no twisted ankles, but I did get a blackened toenail out of the deal.
An hour of waiting and two trains and I was home.
The thing I love about running is that every time I venture out, it could be the hardest, most excruciating thing I've encountered, but I get through it. From the first full mile that I ran without walking, to longer distances, cold, dark mornings, each time I get to ask myself "idiot, why not stop?" And each time, I keep going.
|A fully depleted, lighter, weaker me|