Running Unplugged

It's been a long time since I've run solo and in silence-- no talking, podcasts or music to distract from my thoughts. But Ann was in Michigan, and I didn't realize I forgot my headphones til I was almost to the trailhead. I frantically txted her husband to see if I could stop by their house an borrow a pair. Moments later, I decided the silence was just what I needed and rescinded my query.

Sunrise silhouettes Mt Hood

I had meant to start out at the Thurman end of Leif to do my standard Ann-less loop, but drove on autopilot to Birch. So instead I did the 18 mile loop Ann picked for us the previous weekend, with a few added flourishes-- like going up Morak on the way out and Keil on the way back.

With four hours of quiet ahead of me, I was nervous I would bail early because the time would go slowly and make the run feel like a drag. But the first hour whizzed by. After a recent, impromptu trip to Florida for a family issue, I had a lot to think about. I consciously steered my thoughts to specific topics, sometimes just listened to the music in my head, and at times enjoyed the silent and observative mind that is one of my favorite things about running long distances on trails.

A lovely russula

The weather started out mostly dry, with a few short-lived showers. Then it rained more than not. And then the dry pauses gave way to bouts of heavy downpour. I enjoyed getting the full spectrum of autumn weather; it's been so dry that running in the rain felt like a rare treat (I know that in a month I'll reread these words with an eyeroll) and the trail didn't even get muddy. By the end I was sopping wet, and so glad I wore my long tights-- first time since about April. I can't believe we've had such warm weather this year that I went for seven months without wearing running tights!

Old growth tree selfie
I'm not sure when I'll do it on purpose, but I know I won't dread the miles next time I forget headphones or am unable to listen to a device.

Birch to Wildwood (7.49)-- .22 mi
Wildwood (7.49) to Morak (ww 10.65)-- 3.16 mi (3.38 total)
Morak to Firelane 1-- .08 mi (3.46 total)
Firelane 1 to Wildwood (11.18)-- ?
Wildwood (11.18) to Saltzman (ww 16.01)-- 4.83 mi (8.29 total)
Saltzman (ww 16.01) to Leif (6.2)-- .5 mi (8.79 total)
Leif (6.2) to Maple (le 6.44)-- .24 mi (9.03 total)
Maple to Leif (4.21)-- 2.66 mi (11.69 total)
Leif (4.21) to Nature Trail (le 3.40)-- .81 mi (12.5 total)
Nature Trail (le 3.40) to Firelane 1-- .93 mi (13.43 total)
Firelane 1 to Wildwood (11.18)-- ?
Wildwood (11.18) to Keil (ww 9.18)-- 2 mi (15.43 total)
Keil to Dogwood-- .17 mi (15.6 total)
Dogwood to Wildwood (8.47)-- .66 mi (16.26 total)
Wildwood (8.47) to Birch (ww 7.49)-- .98 mi (17.24 total)
Birch to trailhead-- .22 mi (17.46 total)
~18 miles total

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