Sunday, July 10, 2016

Trail Running

There is a fellow blogger at So What? I Run whose writing and spirit I have admired for years.  And for years, I've loved my city and well-kept-trail running.  Today, I had my first opportunity to join Sandy and two of her other running friends to see what this trail running was about.

It was a truly amazing experience  It was so different.  Slower.  More deliberate.  A lot to concentrate on so that running in autopilot was basically not a possibility.

Cooler.  Shady for the most part.

Streams to pass.  Logs to get over.  Pieces of tree root sticking up to watch out for.

Rocks.  Deer.  The reservoir.  An overlook.

And all the joy of being "in the wild."  Yes, it was a trail and not just romping over a new path.  But it is as close to nature as it should be as I have gotten in a run in a long time.  Being close to nature gives a certain peace and serenity that it is not always easy to get in city running. It allows a time and space to think where the hustle and bustle of the world is not there.

Additionally, running with a group of others provides validation.  I contrast running alone, running with one, and running with a group.  Alone is me time or with a focus on my fitness.  With one is a time to have a meaningful conversation or just enjoy one other person's presence.  A group, however, is special in a different way.  A part of the "running tribe" coming together with a shared goal, a shared interest, a shared end result that we are looking for.  A shared willingness to be there for each other.  A shared passion.

And that sense of sharing means a lot to me.  It helps me to make me feel like what I am doing is worth more than just the calories burned or the cardio fitness gained.  It makes me realize how many people out there share what it is that I think makes running an amazing component of life.

It makes me realize how much of a gift being part of the running tribe is.  And the fact that I can cross between the sub-tribes of city runners and trails and fast and not so fast is a gift as well.

It lifts my spirit.

Not that running alone or with just one other person does not.  It is just different to feel the power of a group moving together, working together, being there for each other, that gives it power.

And while I may not often be able to dedicate the time to trail running if I want to keep up my distance, I do look forward to now having another part of my running repertoire that I can turn to, so that I can continue to explore and seek and try new things.  

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