The best aspect of my running recently has been training runs. Several have probably been pretty sorry training to tell the truth, or maybe not. I met up with a group from Charlotte to take them on some real trails, ones where your expenditure is greater but the efforts are rewarded with views. I‘ve been able to get in several runs with a good friend, Cory. We always say running with each other is like running without realizing you’re doing it.
It took a month before I could run 20 miles in a week. I tested it prematurely at the one month mark and ran the Knickerbocker trail half marathon in Cool, CA. It was too much too soon. There was swelling and a soreness. But what was humbling was the lack of stamina. My fitness did not bounce back as quickly as I had hoped.
At one point after months of
trying to push through the slog of running I was doing, I decided to pull out
of all the races I had on my calendar and stop wearing a watch. I didn’t write out a running schedule,
didn’t think about my pace or splits, and ran when and what I wanted to...
Let’s say you’re a runner residing between Georgia and Maine or maybe between California and Oklahoma. You’ve got several notches on your belt from your local 10k but your times have dipped or the excitement has gradually faded as the city blocks blend seamlessly into monotony. Maybe the excitement remains but you’re looking to add an event to your calendar to keep motivation high throughout the year. Well if you live in or near the aforementioned states you may be missing out on a running challenge that will take your breath away. Literally. I’d like to formally introduce you to mountain running.
In the foothills balsam root shoots. Up through the soggy dirt and bolting for the sun, cherry blossoms in the back-yard pop, and at night a warm wind blows a new smell that makes me anxious--it all means one thing--it's time to race the Sunflower again.
As I kept running, I could tell by the ghastly look on their faces that they were somewhat frightened by me. One man even dropped what he was carrying and said to me in broken English, “What you run from?” It occurred to me that they didn’t understand why I was running.
The server turns on the TV at the bar as Natalie Sims walks through the front glass doors. She is sleek and cut, her curly dirty-blonde hair pulled back. She sits down with me at the table and says, “It’s so hot.”
We arrive at the trailhead and park the car. I look at all the running gear on the seat next to me: a handheld water bottle, a heart rate monitor and watch, a full running pack and my La Sportiva running hat. I grab only my hat, leaving the rest. My partner and I hit the trail. Today I run with no agenda, no plans, no goal and I run to escape the hectic pace of life.