Thursday, September 27, 2012

It’s Hill and Gully Running Baby!

I love to run. When I was figure skating year round, cardio was always a critical building block. There was always a very specific approach to physical conditioning and dry land running was a one of the bigger pieces. From a very young age, there was never a sport I didn't enjoy 110%.

I have always been active. This quest I have been on the last couple of years has me rediscovering a wide range of things I had totally forgotten I loved in my past life. As a result, April of 2011 had me lacing up my running shoes for the first time in decades. Not being in tip top shape, I decided not to run around an indoor track nor through the streets of town, instead I ventured into the gully behind my house and followed the tracks along the Muskoka River.

My first few times out, the trek up and down through the gully to get to my stomping ground, was pretty much exercise enough. As the spring turned to summer (and summer into fall) my determination persevered. My breathing became less laboured and my legs grew stronger. Winter had me working my skis and snowshoes and true to form, I was back down the gully and running the tracks in the spring of 2012.

Dot's always been my running mate but once or twice a week I would take my beloved beagle Daisy down the hill with us. The three of us would give it a go. Running the railway ties had become a soothing rhythm for me and something I grew to really look forward to.

After Daisy was killed this past June, I never returned to the gully. I swam, peddled, and golfed all summer but I couldn’t bring myself to lace up my shoes. It was just too painful.

After spending last Saturday reading in the comfort of jujubes and ice cream I took a baby step. I laced up my shoes and headed up the cottage stairs and down our private road with Dot and the puppy. It felt great. I’d truly missed it.

After an early dinner Sunday, I waited until about 6:30pm, then asked the question for the first time in months.

“Wanna go in the gully Dot?” She was ecstatic and I was committed to follow through. On went my shoes and gear and down the hill we went. 

I hit the tracks and started to run, hitting two and three ties at a time.  As I was about to hit the large bend at Wilson’s Falls I stopped to take it all in. So much in my life in the last couple of years changed but one thing was certain, life was moving forward.

As I held up my phone I asked Dottie “is that our Daisy?" As I admired the expression on her face  I knew she was thinking about her too. No matter what you may think or believe, I know the three of us were right there in that very moment. We were together again.

Judging by how my heart still aches, I know Daisy will be running with Dot and I for a very long time.