When I first started running, Duane would take me over to Palmer Park to run the Templeton Gap trail. You might be familiar with the trail. It's death in the form of some dirt and rocks. The terrain involves intense, short climbs that will leave you hating running, and your partner, at least it did for me. Duane is also very fast, and I'm pretty sure he could've hiked the 3.8 mile route faster than my beginner legs could run it.
I had a lot of special stops along this run "The Hill I Hate", "Kill me Now Rocks", and "High-Five Hoodoo", my most favorite. Typically, at these places, I would be doubled over, panting, and all out crying tears of pain and hate for the trail. With the breath that I would have left, I was regularly chanting, "I can't do this, I can't do this, I can't...." High-Five Hoodoo was a little different.
As a beginning trail runner, I found myself constantly watching Duane's footwork and trying my best to move with the same light, quick strides. At the last 0.3 miles of the run, High-Five Hoodoo just seems to jump right into the trail. I'm pretty sure it smacked me on my first couple of runs. Once I caught on to its game, I started hitting it back. My hits started as slaps of anger across it's sandy surface, as if the hoodoo represented all of Palmer Park. After months and months of training in the park, these slaps evolved into a habitual hand brush across the rock. But, somehow along the way, I actually began to enjoy these runs and my hit became more of a high-five.
I run a lot of different routes through that park, now. Some are only 3.8 miles and some are as long as 13.3 miles. Each run gets a visit to High-Five Hoodoo. Somehow, that rock actually pulled me through so much training. But, alas, now that I have two kids and live on the west side, I never get over to Palmer Park any longer. I kind of miss my sturdy, ancient running buddy.
Today, I didn't get over and run in Palmer Park. As a matter of fact, I haven't been in that park for well over a year. But, I offered up my run to High-Five Hoodoo, because with two kids, I ran on the dreadmill. I didn't just run on the treadmill, but I ran 10 miles on the treadmill. I was a little afraid of defeat from this 90 minute run. After all, it is much easier to bail on a treadmill, compared to an out-and-back route. But I did it, and on some level, I'm pretty sure High-Five Hoodoo is pretty impressed.