The following dialog came to me as I was running over the trails in local Griffith Park in Los Feliz. While closer to the city than I typically like, I have a soft spot for these trails as they were the first I experienced in my ultra-career, and gave me a taste of how trail running differed from road running.
I enjoying going back there now not only for the hills and the views, but also as it's fun to see how far I've come.... which is never more apparent than when I tackle a particular hill or piece of landscape that I used to have to walk up, chest heaving for air all the way...
Whose Legs Are These?
Whose legs are these?
They can't be my legs.
Strong, sure, moving forward with certainty and confidence... climbing one set of hills, then looking for more.
Hey - whose legs are these? Anyone? Anyone recognize these legs? They look familiar... yet, there's a freshness there that suggests they are brand new. And that subtle bounce, in each step, a bounce - that's something I've not seen before, no, not with these legs.
But, when did this happen? How did they get here, these legs that feel like they could go for miles?
They could use a tan, that's for sure - and a shave too, please, while we're at it. But, below the surface, there lies a strength that cannot be argued.
Look here, at this calf - it's hard as a rock. And there, on the left, another one just like it.
And these feet - well, the feet have seen better days. Only seven toenails between them, and with heels that have clearly not seen a pumice stone in years... yes, the feet, I recognize. But these legs - there's something that feels distinctly different about these legs.
Tell me, please: whose are these legs?
Well, they are my legs - and they have carried me over many mountains.
They have carried me in the early morning, in the dead of night, and in the light of day.
Over asphalt and rocky trails, through snow, and sand, and mud.
Over fallen trees, along dried-up creek beds, and around neighbors' garbage cans.
In front of the yapping, frothing mouths of fenced-in dogs - and dogs that were not fenced-in.
Up sheer cliff faces and over mossy logs bridging running streams, then into the steams themselves.
I'll take responsibility for these legs.
I have pushed and pummeled them, I have coaxed them and cursed at them. I have dragged them out of bed (and vice-versa) at 3AM on a Saturday morning, when in younger days we would have only just been staggering home... together, we have climbed peaks I would have never dreamed I'd climb, much less run.
I have pushed these legs to go farther and faster than ever before, and they have responded
These are my legs, and I'll take them now
It's only 8AM here, and there is still much time