Of Dogs and Dirt

Yesterday morning, I ran my first trail run.

I’ve shared before how special running is in my life. It is one of my quiet times with God; it is one way I assert His power in my life.

He used my experience yesterday to show off to me, and let me tell you: our God is Amazing!

I have always been a road runner, mostly for convenience; but even still, I always choose the roads with the sweetest views. The ones that give me an opportunity to hear the birds, and the wind in the trees. The sounds of nature were the only things I heard this sunny Saturday morning (apart from heavy breathing) as I plunged deep into the Kanawha State Forest as an entrant in the Dirty Dog 15k Trail Run. It was a beautiful course, with moss covered hillsides and every variety of tree this part of the country offers. At one point, when I thought we had reached the highest we could climb (we would proceed to go ever higher, much to my horror), the wind stirred the trees and lifted my soul until I threw my hands up in the air and sort of yelled, “I can feel God here!” My running partner and dear friend, Kim–even though she is used to my oddities, sorta rolled her eyes, perhaps due to the fact she was struggling to breath at the moment. I got a little giddy as we traipsed along, and a couple times just burst out in giggles. I know Kim thinks I have lost my mind, but nothing makes me feel like a little girl more than to be surrounded by a luscious wood!

Yes, the Dirty Dog is nine miles of beautiful forest. But, why, you might ask, is it called the Dirty Dog? Well…apparently, and this is new to me, “dog” is a slang term for feet. And, guess what? Our feet got really dirty, um–a better word would be muddy, on this trail run. We had to traverse springs and streams, and a couple patches of what I call “elephant mud” (that’s the stinky kind).

Here is the end result.

You may not get the full effect, because in the last mile of the run I ran through a little streambed that rinsed most of the elephant mud off my shoes. But suffice it to say, I was carrying a little extra weight on the bottom of my feet that needed liberated.

Here are some other reasons the race is called the Dirty Dog:

Aren’t they gorgeous? Doggies are welcomed on this trail run. As a true blue dog lover, this makes it tops on my list! And the first canine finisher is even awarded the title of “Top Dog”. Made me miss Lucy Mae. She’s built for speed, not endurance, that one.

I had a blast, though am a little stiff today. But I’m not as sore as I thought I would be, due to the fact that Kim and I walked most of the uphills (seemed like it was all uphill). It took us two and a half hours! I counted, seven people came in behind us J. And two of them got lost. I feel a little sheepish about twelve minute miles (did I mention it was all uphill?), but, as my dear hubbie said, “Honey, I can’t do anything for two and half hours. ‘Cept maybe sleep.”

I can think of worse ways to spend a Saturday morning. Up with the sun. Good fellowship. Dappled sunlight through trees. God’s voice in the rustle of the breeze. UmmmUmm.

I think I just found a new way to worship.

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