This time last year I met a fellow runner during my first trail run and learned something pretty significant about myself as a runner and just in general in my life…
If you enjoy running but normally stick to roads you should seriously give a trail run a ride. It’s such a different experience. Keeping your feet up over all the tree roots, dodging fallen trees and bushes, keeping your footing as you slide down steep slopes and groping for tree limbs as you struggle to climb up the other side. During my first trail run, about three hours in, I tripped over a tree root and did a tumble. It was a great way to learn the importance of lifting my feet on the trails.
The other interesting thing about trail runs is the people you meet. I find on road runs there are the really serious runners who will do anything to get past you, then there are the strugglers who make you feel better about your own progress and finally the runners who are friendly, polite, and will fall into a pace beside you for a few quick courteous words of encouragement and camaraderie. But on trail runs when you are running through the woods on the edge of a precipice, literally, and someone is running close behind you….you begin to chat. I don’t know if it’s out of fear that they will suddenly push you down the hill, or to feel less alone within the unknown of the trail, or simply because you are the only two in ears reach and for some reason that feels kind of intimate even though you never take your eyes off the trail to look at each other.
Anyways, I met a very strong lady on my first trail run. We ran together for a couple of hours and I felt invincible being able to keep up with her stride being that it was my first and her umpteenth run. She commented on the fact that I didn’t have any liquids or gels on me. Last year was a big year for runs for me. I did many. Before then I was really only catching one half marathon a year and I was just going with the flow each year on run day. I didn’t want anything on my body that would hinder my running so I left it up to fate, and the water stations, to keep me energized for the runs.
I noticed how by the end of the run I was struggling, despite the feeling of disillusion from the fall. The water stations weren’t timed out exactly for what my body needed that day. And perhaps I realized that, in order to do the best run I can do, I shouldn’t leave it up to the event organizers to decide when I need liquids or sugar. I’m not sure why it took me that long, or someone else to point it out, for me to figure this out.
But then, if I look at how I do things in my life…most of the time I leave the liquids and gels at home and just go with the flow. I have my hopes and some dreams but you know,…if it doesn’t happen now well then it wasn’t meant to be…or maybe I should just change what I would like to do or…maybe I should just look at other possibilities….
Geez Louise! What the hell was I thinking?!!! Guess that’s an easy way to make sure I never become too disappointed and yet at the same time never really get all that far with anything…anywhere. Makes sense.
I picked up my running gels today for my next trail run this Saturday. I now run with a belt that holds my gels and gatorade and bandaids. I refuse to be unprepared. I refuse to sit back and just go for the ride…see where it takes me. I’m earning my medals now no matter how much it may hurt and I am going to earn my place in this life.
And now that you’ve read this far, I can tell you my good news. I found out yesterday that an article I wrote for the Running Room Magazine will be published in next month’s issue. I only really started writing this year and I am going to be published. It’s not the New York Times, or a book of plays or anything like that but it is certainly a stepping stone in the right direction and I will take that. I have created for myself a new path this year that is taking me on a journey that I am so extremely excited about. I’ve won a 24 hour play writing contest, and watched a public reading of my play, and now I’m being published.
So, you remember that nude portrait I blogged about last week?