It was almost 70F in Rochester two days ago. That's right, it was spring in January in Western New York. Yesterday there were 75mph winds which created quite the maze during morning commute time due to downed - well everything. Today the temperature is hovering just over the freezing point and the skies are back to the usual January grey.
When I left work yesterday the winds were still gusting, but the sun was out and the temps were mild so I decided I would go for a run with Sonia (Sergei, poor boy, can't do our runs anymore). Thinking the trees would provide some semblance of shelter from the wind, I headed to Durand-Eastman Park to run the trails.
Upon arrival the air had taken on an eerie quality which only gained intensity as my time at the Lake bordering park increased. The temperatures were still rather warm (for January, at least) but the wind had taken on a wintry chill which, when whipped through you, gave your skin an inexplicable clammy feeling. Sonia and I start off my regular ~5mile trail route. I felt good for just over a mile when my knee started to ache dully with each gate which was landed on with my right foot. As the pain progressed to a sharp stabbing sensation (which had by this point started shooting pain down to my ankle - should I be worried?!?!) my pace steadily declined from a run to a jog to a shuffle and finally to a hobbling walk. Good times.
I conceded to pack up my pride, not push my body beyond its pain threshold and to walk the rest of the trail. At first I was frustrated and angry but after a few moments Sonia's child-like bounding along the edge of a pond had me snapped out of my self pity. Curious as to what it was that had her behaving like a 6 month old puppy I crept closer so as not to startle her keen interest - she had taken on some pond ducks as her playmates. So with the much needed comic relief I watched her and her new friends interact (although I think they did not see her in quite the same light). Thankfully she decided not to hunt them as she and Sergei usually would when together. With a huge smile on her face and mine I scurried her along down the trail (the ducks were, I am certain, most thankful of that).
I have spent most of my youth and a good part of my adulthood running through these trails, I could navigate them blindfolded if I had to. But today as I slowed my roll and was actually forced to observed them, rather than just use them as a vector for my runs, I realized they looked foreign to me. The wind storm had altered my once familiar paths. Each downed tree created a whole other trail, the leaves blown over by the maddening wind had covered the existing trails forcing me to forge new ones. It was quite incredible! For a brief moment I thought about how amazing it would be to get my mountain bike down there at night and do some riding-by-the-light-of-a-headlamp. That glimpse of a day dream was soon shattered by the stabbing in my knee. Oh yeah, I should make that doctor's appointment. I hate physical limitations!