This is year 2 for Toronto True Running. The groups have grown in size and now are at the limit of my personal ability to facilitate. Group composition seems to be the biggest challenge I face when putting the groups together. Unlike many traditional coaching sessions, there is no track, loop or clear and straightforward path so we must run along as one group. Different paces, fitness levels and ideas all coming to together in compromising harmony. The trails are almost certainly a hard workout for most runners. The hills are demanding and unrelenting. You build core strength, leg strength and there is a huge demand on a runner’s aerobic system. Footwork is extremely important. The trails interrupt the autopilot we sometimes run under. One runner tonight had a sizeable scratch on her leg and when I pointed it out she seemed amazed that it had happened and that she hadn’t even noticed. Also somewhat startling was that she brushed it off like it was all part of the fun, blood and all. We head to the trails and suddenly we are a bunch of kids running around the woods exploring, falling down and getting back up. One person said ” the adrenaline rush made it exciting”. 7 adults playing out there own version of “Stand By Me” in the Don Valley. We tore up steep hills and down steeper ones. We didn’t notice time passing. We were the kids who looked up and noticed that the streetlights had come on and said “awww, what a gyp”. We used words like: scramble, jump and leap which most of us hadn’t used in self reference for many years. The trails bring adventure to a life fill with rules and that often instructs us to “stay on the path”. One thing I am not fond of is when I hear people talk about “thinking outside the box” and all they talk about after that is the box. We sometimes get trapped in the running box. We run the same roads and paths. Trail running brings us to our running in it’s truest form. We actually get away from it all instead of turning on the autopilot and thinking about all the other stuff.
Pretty much everyday I run a trail which passes beneath one of the bridges over the Don Valley. This bridge is quite high, atleast as high as the Bloor Viaduct. This week I heard voices coming from the bridge, I assumed it was kids walking across the deck of the bridge but in fact it was group of kids walking across the catwalk beneath the bridge. Now I am all for exploring and kids being given the room to explore. I grew up in downtown Toronto and spent most of my childhood pushing the boundaries of what was safe. I lived near the Summerhill railway tracks and spent so much of my childhood criss crossing those tracks in search of adventure. The tracks were and still are very active but to me and my group of friends they were as inviting as Wonderland might be today. From talking to a couple Mtn bikers, I ascertained that these kids are up on the catwalk quite often and walk the entirety of the bridge, even over the DVP. This is obviously a safety issue and not just for the kids but anyone under the bridge including motorists. I have thought about this a lot and asked the opinion of a bunch of people, everyone seems to be in favour of letting the police know, not to get the kids in trouble but to head off a potentially dangerous situation.
One of the folks from my Wednesday trail running group sent me a link shortly after we all discussed the issue of kids getting to be kids. Here is the link.
It isn’t exactly on point but it is a great discussion none the less.