Why, Why trails ?
Even on the most familiar of trails, on trails l have run thousands of times, I must be present in my run. Trails I have run in thunderstorms (caught in, not planned), run in blizzards (planned), through the leaves of fall, the first snows of winter and soon the bright tiny bluebells of spring, I must be present in my run. I contrast enjoyable days of lost in thought 35 K training runs, like yesterday, along lovely paved paths past frisbee golfers and racing toddlers with today’s 11 K through the trails of my “backyard”, the Don. On today’s run I vow to be slow thinking, where nothing is automatic. Today is about quick feet and consistent effort on my favourite single track. I may know these trails like the back of my foot but I am running in the present, not remembering yesterday or borrowing from tomorrow.
The familiar trails have time and time again lulled me into running sleep. I stray from the moment and my run, I think about other things. Life takes over the run. I think about problems to be solved, dreams that are still dreams. I think outside the forest and my mind and body are separated. That’s when the woods remind me it’s time to come back. A root, a stone or on nastier days a frozen patch will catch me in dreamland and down I go. Sometimes I laugh, sometimes I curse and wonder how it is possible to fall on such familiar ground, mostly I triage for blood and broken bits and then remind myself of the lesson I have had just relearned. When you are running the trails you must stay in the woods. Stay in the run, enjoy the effort, feel part of this and immerse yourself. That is one reason “Why”.