Sunday, August 7, 2011

Happy Trails

What do you get when you combine Rocks, Ruts, Roots, and Running???
A wicked good time!

If you know me at all, you know that running is not my thing.
I've only been running (seriously) for about a year.  I never liked running before... actively disliked it, actually.

This dislike has continued for a long time.  I was really hoping it would go away the longer I ran.  But, for example, at last month's triathlon, my run time was mediocre (again) and I really felt miserable throughout it.  Much of my problem was mental, but some of it, I'm certain, was physical.  I realize that running on hot asphalt with the sun beating down on me makes it very difficult for me to run.  However...

I have recently discovered my love of trail running!

Here's what happened...

The week after our triathlon, my training partner, Jan, took me to our local park to run the cross-country ski trails - for a change of pace and to up our mileage.  She had a 2-mile loop mapped out that we would run twice (for a total of 4-miles).  All but about 250-feet was in the woods, surrounded by trees that provided great shade.

We made it through the first loop, warming up and watching for obstacles, then started loop #2.
I felt great.
I barely felt winded, I wasn't struggling to continue.
I felt like I could run for hours!

Was it the new scenery?
Was it the trees that I love to hike and walk amongst?
Was it the company?

I think it was the shade.
I think it was the coolness of the forest.
I think it was the "cushion" of the trail.
and most importantly... I think my mind was in a really good place.
And all of this together makes me want to run.

How could it not?  I LOVE spending time in the woods.  I go for long walks there with my husband & family as often as possible.  It is my happy place.
SO, it seems only natural that I could be happy running here as well.

And if you're gonna run... why not test yourself every once in a while with a little race, right??

That's when I discovered that there was a new 5K race coming to a nearby town.... the "Dirty Girl".
It's not your average 5K... there's mud and obstacles.  And mud.
But the great thing is, it's all about fun.  (Go check out the website.)
That's what I want from a race.
So, I recruited my friends and sister to be on a team with me and we're all registered for the event.
But I can't get instant gratification from this race, it's not happening until September.
   ... cue Kathryn and her invitation to run in the Boston Mud Run!
This 6K race is advertised as a "European-Style Cross Country Run" - a 3.5 mile trail run with hills and stream-crossings and mud, mud, mud!  Pools of it all over the trails.  If you're careful (like I was this year), you could avoid getting too dirty... but there were some who WANTED to play in the mud (and wanted to share with others).  If you visit the event's website and check out the photo page, you'll get a sense of what some people look like when their run is done.

I want next year to be different - I want mud in my shoes and in my hair.  :)

We didn't score an land-speed records that night, but we had an excellent time doing it - AND we celebrated with ice cream afterwards.  Who doesn't love ice cream after a hard workout?!  AND, the registration fee went to a good cause - the Boston Rescue Squad.  AND... we all got great shirts!  I'm wearing mine as a badge of honor.

So, I'll still be running on the road occasionally... but I think for the most part you'll find me in the woods... either walking with the dog, the hubby or the family or running along with my thoughts... in my happy place.

Happy Trails!

P.S.... here's the map of the Boston Mud Run, in case you'd like to try it yourself. (Be sure to check out the elevation information, too.  HA!)

1 comment:


great that you found your comfort zone. like the t-shirt!! you persevered and you found what you needed in this.