I've been enthralled with the idea of running a 50K sometime in 2010. In fact, I'm actually trying to use the idea of going the 31 miles as motivation to get back on my healthy diet and think of food as fuel and not as a satisfaction. I've always used food as a vice and it seems that I've been doing that yet again--healthier foods than most, but not the correct balance and probably not enough. BUT, that's a topic for another post.
With the idea of running a 50K came the realization that most are run on trails. Now, I've had a few attempts at trail running in the past and have had very mixed feelings after each run! After my first real trail run, I decided that I'd stick to the roads. I was slow, the terrain was rough, and there were hundreds of hills that reduced me to walking. I swore of the dirt.
While I helped coach a group of folks to run their first 5K, my best friend Jess was helping me get ready for my first marathon. Jess LOVES running on trails. She has completed two 50K's at this point and paced a friend at Burning River. I listened to her talk about the hills and the mud and the trees and the animals and so much more she experienced on a single track. I kept thinking that her love of trail running was proof that I should give it a second chance.
After my marathon, I decided to run a trail 10K in Ohio--the Barkcamp Trail 10K. My friend Robin wanted to run a 10K and I picked this to be her first! She had no trail running experience, and I took Luau (my Chesapeake Bay Retriever) out for a 4 miler on a trail. That, combined with the training from the marathon is what I took into this new experience. Robin trusted my knowledge, strictly learned from reading about trail running, bought a pair of trail shoes and blindly followed me!
We had a blast. I loved it. The terrain was rough, there was a weeks worth of rain that created nice mud, the weather was cool, and the people were nice. Robin took 3rd in her age group and I won Pittsburgh Pirate tickets in the door prizes.
Maybe there was something to this trail running?
2 months later, I went out for my first jaunt on the trails since the 10k. Robin went with me and we covered 5.25 miles of trails that were a lot hillier than the 10K. We walked a lot when Robin's injury started to act up, but it didn't matter. Being out in the woods, smelling the leaves, hearing the breeze through the barren late fall trees, reminded me of a 25 year younger Brad. A time where I always wanted to be in the woods, the fields, along the creeks and streams. Anywhere I could be out in nature. Sometimes you just have to forget about how long it takes you to cover the distance and enjoy the distance itself.
I live in South Western Pennsylvania. I'm in the foothills of the Laurel Highlands. I can be at a trail in 15 minutes in the local county park, or take a weekend morning and drive an hour or so and enjoy some of the trails that run through the Laurel Mountains.
How lucky am I? And why did it take me so long to learn this?
Stay safe, keep your soles to the ground, and keep moving forward!