So, I ran a little 5K trail race Sunday morning. I've done the trail race thing before. Annually, actually. And I've grown to love hiking them. The tougher the better. I very much enjoy being in the woods and sunshine and all. But this was something else entirely.....
It's rained a little here lately. Okay, maybe more than a little. Kind of a lot. I knew this before I left the house Sunday morning. But, somehow, I didn't put two and two together. Like that if the grass was a bit spongy, the trails might be a bit damp, too. Especially the completely open, no tree cover kind of trails. No, that didn't occur to me until I was on the actual trail that I would soon be running, heading to the starting line. That's when I saw the "puddles." The first one I encountered had a crawfish swimming in it. Seriously. A crawfish. That's when I started to wonder what, exactly, I'd gotten myself in to. I'm not the biggest fan of aquatic type creatures. Or really water in general. Except, like, to drink. Or bathe in. (That might be the biggest understatement you'll see today, okay.) And I generally don't really like mud. Especially on me. I'm kind of a neat and tidy person. Sweaty is okay. Dirty is not.
People (me included) were trying to make their way around the puddles (okay, small lakes) to get to the start. And pretty much everyone seemed to be trying to make their way around the puddles (that took up the ENTIRE width of the trail) once we were running, too. That made for some pretty tight squeezes. Too tight for my liking. So after the second pack-moving-around-the-puddle maneuver, I decided that if I was going to do this, I was going to do this right. I moved out of the pack and charged right down the center of the trail toward the puddle.
I entered the puddle with all my might. And the splash was a thing of beauty! The wake was about knee high and seemed to pause briefly in this graceful arch around me before gravity regained control of the water. It looked a bit like I imagine it looked when Moses parted the Red Sea. The water was just a touch more than ankle deep. And it didn't smell very good. And it was a very odd color. And I don't even want to know what all was "in" there. My feet were submerged. My shoes lost all trace of newness. My socks made a kind of sucking noise as I left the puddle. I was wet kind of all over. But, damn, it was fun!
So I took the rest of the puddles the same way. I encountered (in addition to the crawfish) a few frogs, countless bugs, and one absolutely beautiful box turtle. (He also looked a bit frightened. But wouldn't you be, too, if suddenly hordes of very large and imposing creatures totally unlike yourself went storming though your yard? I had to stop to make sure he was okay before I could proceed to the finish.) By the time I was done I was covered in mud and muck and grime and things I don't even want to think about. It never occured to me to look at my time (I still don't know what it was.) And I had the biggest smile on my face.
Driving home I realized that for someone who tends to be a little cautious and likes to maintain control and stick to her routines, I took a nice, big leap outside the box. And it felt really good.