A Fine Winter Run

Luck smiled on us this morning.

Meadow is just healing from tweaking her knee a couple times in the past week. As long as I restrain her natural enthusiasm and goofiness by keeping her on leash, she does fine. In fact, she's bouncing off the walls with energy, having been forced to rest for the past several days.

My original plan was to go for a very short run, to "test" Meadow's knee. Maybe two miles.

I awoke early to still-dark skies with stars sparkling, promising blue skies and sunshine. When I opened the door to let the girls out, it made a distinctive sucking sound I've come to associate with truly cold outdoor temperatures. I looked at my indoor/outdoor thermometer: minus 2F. Awesome!

We headed out around 9:30 am. By this time it had warmed up - to zero. I bundled up with several layers. The girls are always bundled up and ready. In fact, they're at their most energetic at this temperature.

As soon as we got onto the driveway they almost pulled me off my feet with their eagerness to RUN! "Whoa, girls! Whoa!" I giggled. They knew I wasn't serious.

The snow underfoot gave that squeaky crunchy sound that only very cold and dry snow provides. I love that sound. As we headed up the road toward the forest boundary, I fantasized about recording the sound of their paws and my feet crunching through this snow and sending it to NPR for that program about the everyday sounds of life.

Within minutes Meadow spied an old bone on the road that both girls had played with on our walk the night before. She raced to get to it ahead of Maia. I asked her to leave it, but she was so excited to have it, I let her bring it with her.

As soon as we crossed into the national forest, I saw that the snow groomer had been through in the night. The lovely corduroy-textured surface he created was completely undisturbed. There were no vehicles in the snowmobile parking lot. The sun was just peeking through the treetops on the hills to the west. This gorgeous part of the world was OURS.

I let Maia off leash. She immediately turned to face Meadow in a play bow, waiting for me to let her off. Fearing another knee tweaking incident, and hating myself for ruining the fun for them both, I kept Meadow on leash. She wanted to keep playing with and carrying the bone, but it was large (see photo) and distracting, so I pitched it over a bank into the deep snow.

Now the real running began. Maia in lead position, me and Meadow following her up, up and up. Eventually, after they both got their ya ya's out, I let Meadow off leash. I was tempted to just keep going, ever deeper into the forest, since the morning and conditions were so perfect, but my good sense regarding Meadow's knee kicked in and I turned back after 2.5 miles. A five mile run was certainly longer than I planned and perhaps more than I should have let Meadow do, but she didn't have any problems then, or later. It's the dancing and chasing and leaping through snow drifts with Maia that tweak her knee. Straight-ahead trotting with occasional bursts of speed (racing Maia up the hills) seem to be OK.

Life is good.