When living in New York City, you don’t often…hmmm…let me correct, never hear silence. It may be quiet at times but if you listen there’s a hum, a honk, or the sound of clicking heels in the hallways of your 6-floor walk up. It’s never silent, that’s New York City.
I’ve always loved running and nature but I never considered myself as an “outdoorsy” type. However, I started to become one starting April of 2009 after joining The Reservoir Dogs, ironically in NYC. The club brought remarkable change for the good…..let me rephrase, for the best. It suckered me into running my first marathon in the trails of San Francisco, prompted me to take numerous trips to the mountains of the Appalachian Trails, and it continuously pushed me to go faster and farther in unfamiliar places.
Silke, the Queen of DirtProof if you will, asked me to write this entry to share my thoughts about my 6 day trip of running and eating. So here I am sitting and typing on the sun-drenched deck of two former Res-dogs, Silke and Ryan’s quaint apartment in Boulder, CO. It looks over the Indian Peaks where the mountains Clint and I had come to challenge and semi-successfully conquered along with the awesome hosts. Pure bliss.
After a quick reflection of what this trip meant to me, I got a bit sentimental; It was the result of a friendship through running, shared dedication to endurance sports, and a mutual appreciation for the discoveries we make on our runs, whether it be about the surrounding, running-mates, or ourselves. We had 4 runs and 1 hike in the 6 day trip and I wish to share my experience of the most painful one, of course.
Silke had asked me to write the entry during February 25th’s run up Green Mountain. How cheeky of her to ask me while I’m delirious, lacking oxygen at 6000ft and frustrated at Kea, their mountain dog, for telling me to ‘go faster’ with her patronizing doggy eyes.
I could have sworn that I heard Kea belittle me about my speed but that could have been the altitude talking. Needless to say, her request got me thinking about the aforementioned details of how my lifestyle had changed ‘a bit’ since the club happened to me. I took mental notes of what I wouldn’t have experienced during the 2800ft+ ascent/descent if I hadn’t joined the group; the post card like view from 8200ft, the beautiful snow covered hills, trees and rocks, and of course the path with knee deep snow that made me earn every step. Mother nature couldn’t have painted the mountains any better or dumped powdery obstacles placed perfectly in my way. As I admired the slopes and dusted trees at 6500ft, I thought I had the best view. However, with every stop at a higher elevation you saw more, farther, and a bigger picture. I thought I had it made. But it wasn’t until I stumbled into our next stop.
We collected ourselves at a flat section, a gift from god if you will, to once again survey the scene. It was wooded but the sun snuck through the branches and the airborne snow refracted the light like shining confetti on New Years Eve. We would chat about the scenery, then fall into silence…..say a comment about the temperature…. silence……something about the deep snow and then we stopped talking all together. There it was; that deafening and almost dizzying silence that I haven’t heard before. I asked to stay back so I could soak in the rare moment. I stood there trying to hear something, almost to prove that pure silence in nature was impossible. But it held. Not even a crackling of a tree, blowing wind, or a hiker’s voice in the distance. The snow acted like ear muffs (%#!& you Green hills!). It’s hard to recall the sensation because it’s such an alien concept living in NYC. When I closed my eyes, I had no idea what was near, what was far, what was coming towards me or going way. It was like a room full of feather pillows soaking every frequency. It’s hard to envision and describe but rightfully so.
New sensations and emotions is one of the unintended outcomes when you make friends through running. If it weren’t for the people I run with now, I wouldn’t have done 50% of the fun things and endured 100% of the painful things in the past 4 years. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have seen the snow covered landscape that changed with every inch I climbed. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have known what pure silence felt like. Thanks for the past miles and thanks to many more to come. Keep running.