I forgot how long I was out there. Out there on a trail in the dark. I turned on my head lamp to see if I could still make out her foot prints and the telltale sign that she was dragging a sled. The ever so slightly and faint tracks. Like a lightly weighted set of cross country ski tracks that looked suspiciously like set-track. I saw the foot prints but couldn’t tell if there were the sled tracks any more. I wasn’t certain I would find her. Still I trudged on.
It is my “night off” from training and I set out for a small hike to see if my knee has healed enough to go hiking; eventually running. I knew that my friend would be in the Rattlesnake Recreation area and I haven’t seen her in a while. So an hour earlier I set out to see if I could find this friend that has been absent from my recent endeavors but only because hers were so much farther away and way more substantial.
I was 3.5 miles out and no gloves so my fingers were vulnerable on the winter’s night. I didn’t have any water because I wanted to only go for a half hour hike. I started to run again. Running meant I could get out farther, just to make my chances more likely, that I would run into my friend. I was thinking about giving up and turning around. This would be very disappointing.
“BAD IDEA”, I thought to myself.
I was slightly agitated at myself for making such a over attempt at finding a friend. I had lied to myself that I wanted to test my knee and now it was all out in the open. “In the open”, I thought to myself, “Ill turn around when I get out into the open. Into the meadows. Yea, that is my plan”.
Lying again. To myself. I was just hoping for a glimmer of hope. A glimmer from a headlamp trudging across a meadow in the Rattlesnake on a winter evening. To test my knee … yea right.
“BAD IDEA!”, I thought to myself again this time almost blurting it out loud.
Then I saw a thread of light busting its way through the brush. Her light appeared through the trees and I was really happy that I had stuck it out. But wait. It was moving way to fast. Way to fast for a runner pulling a sled and training for the Susitna 100. It was more like the pace of a cross country skier. I even heard the sound of skis sliding through the snow. I prepared to question this skier to see if indeed they have seen my friend. Disappointment set back in almost immediately.
“BAD IDEA”, my soul whispered.
The dark figure with a dimming headlamp got closer. Then I realized it was her.
“Hi Jill”, I said feeling happiness overtake my disappointment.
I turned and joined her and we paced it back to the trail head. The trip seemed about a tenth as long going out as it did coming in. No matter, the entire endeavor all seemed like a good idea at this point.