Twofer Tuesday: running mantras

This morning Zippy and I went for a run on the trails. Trailrunning is great fun because it usually keeps my thoughts focused on the rocky, uneven terrain. My mantra is “Feet on the ground. Feet on the ground.” That helps keep me in the moment so I don’t hook a toe and fall on my face. However, today I struggled with the nasty voice in my head, telling me I was slow and tired and really-Tracy-you-should-just-walk-because-you’re-not-a-real-runner.

So I fought back with two new mantras.

The sky was blue, the temperature was a perfect 58 degrees, and the Western Meadowlarks were out in force, warbling their beautiful songs. There was no reason to feel anything other than pure joy and gratitude for my time out in the open space.  Today’s mantras became “Beautiful day, beautiful day. Birds are singing. Birds are singing. Beautiful day, beautiful day. Birds are singing. Birds are singing.”

Once those went on repeat in my head, the nasty voice was nowhere to be heard.

Today, I ran back to myself

Yesterday was cold, gray, and icy here in the Rocky Mountain foothills. Today was sunny and warm enough to run in shorts. The last few days have been emotionally draining for a variety of reasons, and I felt that fatigue and heaviness as I ran.

However, each step felt like a gift, my cadence matching my internal chant:
I am strong and getting stronger. I am strong and getting stronger. I AM STRONG AND GETTING STRONGER.

Sing it, believe it. Live it.

Feet On the Ground

Out on the trails at 6:45 this morning,
concentrating on where I place my feet
as I run along the rocky, rutted paths.

Lifting my knees that are scarred from various falls,
repeating my internal mantra that keeps me focused and upright:
Feet on the ground, feet on the ground.
Head down and pumping arms as I push against the wind.
Feet on the ground, feet on the ground.

Running down into a ravine and up the other side,
calling out to the young rabbits I see there most days.
No bunnies.
I run past, slightly deflated by the missed interaction.
Slightly puzzled.

Then movement to my left and I think
Ah, they’re over on that side today.
I turn.
Two coyotes startled by my voice, leaping sideways
from where they’d been lying alongside the trail.
Just feet from me and my brain that’s focused on bunnies.
I lift my head and look around, spotting a third coyote farther away.

The four of us watch each other, uncertainty heavy in the air.
What’s the next move?

I offer a quiet apology and continue running,
my grin wide as I watch where I place my feet.

I’m still smiling fiifteen minutes farther along the trail
when a full-grown bunny jumps out in front of me and
races ahead, leaving me in her dust.

Feet on the ground, feet on the ground.