Last winter, as we were traipsing through the woods for our run, my friend commented that she didn’t know why we never went that way during the summer, but instead always stayed on the manicured trail. Well, a few days ago I discovered why.
While the boys were at soccer practice, I decided to go for a little run. Since my friend couldn’t join me, I told the soccer coach to come look for me if I didn’t come back. I think he was a little nervous to be left with such a charge. I would be, too, especially since I gave him no indication of which direction I was headed. I started out crossing the road from the soccer pitch, and headed straight into the woods on a small trail. It wasn’t long until the trail became less clear, and then, even though I could see where the trail was between the trees, it was totally overgrown with the worst: stinging nettles. At first they were only a foot high, but by the time I realized that it would be silly to continue, (they were up to my shoulders), it made no sense to turn back. I continued on, arms raised above my head, just hoping that I wouldn’t step on some small animal hidden underfoot. Of all the days to wear shorts!!
Eventually I made it out of the nettles and onto a beaten path, where I continued to run until I couldn’t take any more. The problem was, now I had to turn around and make it back before soccer practice was over and the coach felt like he should send out the search party. I knew I didn’t want to go back through the nettles, so I chose a path that I knew was next to a field that I could easily cross over as a shortcut. But when I got there, the field was also surrounded by shoulder-high nettles, so I had to find another option. I ran for 15 minutes in almost a complete loop before I got back on a trail that would take me towards the soccer field. After having run for 45 minutes and still being almost at the furthest point, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it back in time. Luckily, I decided to abandon the trail and go cross country, despite nettles. Towards the very end I was just running through fallen trees and underbrush. I did make it back just as practice was over, legs tingling, but I learned an important lesson about running through the woods in summer here. Buy a machete, and don’t leave home without it…(and don’t wear shorts).