By: Dwayne Parton

Trail Shock Part 2

I’ve been trying to write this post for a few days now. A recent commenter was asking if the trail affected me in ways besides the physical. I’ve thought about this a lot and found that it’s hard to describe and know the changes the trail may have had, if any. Honestly, I feel perfectly normal. I was a little over whelmed when I first got home but no more than a person who has just returned to a desk full of work after vacation.

For the past few weeks I’ve tried to walk, run, or just do something to get my legs moving again. They are punishing me for what I put them through. Friday, I had the high school soccer team run up Deep Creek. I knew I wouldn’t make it far, but I decided to run with them for as far as I could. I made it about 1/2 a mile before the pain in my knees was just too much. I walked the rest of the way, which was nice, but I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. I just walked 2,185 miles and I can’t run but 1/2 a mile. It was a little depressing at first and as I proceeded on with my pity party I realized that my mental and emotional health is very closely tied to my physical health and athletic ability.

Allow me to complain for just a minute now. I have no confidence in my feet, the lack of feeling makes me feel clumsy. Feeling clumsy is a little embarrassing and I don’t like feeling embarrassed. My left knee feels like it needs to be greased. Do they make knee grease? I hobble to work, to lunch, and pretty much where ever I go. I don’t want attention but I sure do look like I’m trying to get it. That’s certainly annoying. Anyhow, these physical aliments welcome self-pity, depression, and feelings of inadequacy. This affects my desire to do the things I love. Not being able to do what I love makes me feel depressed. You see, here comes the pity party….I really don’t feel sorry for myself but it’s certainly tempting.

It’s hard to really examine how the trail changed me. I know it did but I feel like I’m over examining myself to find something to say. A lot of stress has stemmed from the shear physical shock of the trail. Not being able to run, not feeling confident in my feet, and just sitting around makes it easy to feel a little down. Those things are big deals for me. I’m in the best shape of my life and I can’t do anything but walk around a track!

There are a couple of things I miss though. I guess they are worth mentioning.

  • I miss having a simple goal. On the trail, the goal was a location. That was it. Now, I have what seems like hundreds of goals. I feel scattered and it’s hard to just pick a direction.
  • I miss not caring about my hygiene. Well, apart from brushing my teeth, that’s an essential.
  • I miss having a good excuse for being single. “I don’t have time”. That was always good.

Well, I guess that’s it. I wasn’t trying to dodge the original question. I just don’t really know how to answer. Maybe I’ll know better in a few weeks, or a few months when I’m not so focused on all these physical and social hurdles. I’m really looking forward to hitting the woods again.