Tuesday, February 19, 2013

For the love of it... or how a 10K trail run turned into 10.5 miles

Wow...    today was such a great day.  I'm not exactly sure what all came together on my run today, but it sure felt great. No, I didn't set a PR.. (I was actually quite slow)... no, not a milestone training run. I just ran.  I love trail running...   and today I ran because I loved it so much.... no other reason.

I set out today to run a local loop trail because it was a beautiful day, and since I'm shooting for the 120 day challenge, I needed to run at least a mile anyway.  Besides, I had some new trail shoes to test out for a review.  But once I got on the trail and started thinking about it, I realized that today my main reason for running was because I truly loved it.  And that still sounds kind of crazy to me.  I think I was in a thoughtful mood because I am about halfway through Vanessa Run's book, The Summit Seeker.  I love the way she describes why she runs and in many ways I can identify with it.  Also, what came to mind was a post in early December from my friend Trisha at Barefoot Monologues about how getting so wrapped up in training that you lose sight of why you started to begin with and you lose the joy of running.

Her post was really great.. and you can read it by clicking here.  A great quote that stands out is:
"Today I realized something very interesting: that running makes me happiest when I am doing it for no reason. No reason at all."  

At the time, I thanked her for such a great post and the message, but truthfully I was in the middle of a set marathon training schedule, and doing my training runs etc etc.. so I didn't dwell on it a lot,  but that message did stick and linger in there somewhere.  I think that is why I was not overly upset about missing my marathon goal, but instead just happy to have finished the race, and to have enjoyed the experience.

But today, that message rang home... the empty snow covered trail, beautiful sky and mountains..  the foothills all to myself. And the feeling that I could go anywhere...  this is why I run.

When I got to the top of the loop... I paused to take a break and enjoy the scenery and the quiet.  And then I decided I was enjoying myself too much to head back home.  So, I ventured over onto Rampart Range road and just kept running...    I've been down this road many times before, but it was much different than the Jeep jarring washboard, dust cloud billowing drive in search of some fun 4X4 trails...  instead it was a 5 mph, quiet and peaceful ride...  the only sounds being the birds, wind through the trees, my steady breathing and rhythmic footfalls..

So, I ventured on until I thought it was a good time to turn around..  didn't pay attention to the distance, or my time... just enjoyed being able to move and enjoy the beautiful place we live.

So.... does that mean I will no longer be training or entering races?  Nah... races are great fun, and are motivational, so not going to change that.  But... I'm thinking I am going to shift back to more of a free form training program..  just running when and how far feels right for any upcoming races.  But most of all, I'm going to do my best not to get sidetracked or distracted again from the whole reason I got out there to begin with...running because its what I love to do..    Thanks Vanessa and Trisha!   Life is good :-)

Happy trails!



  1. love this, Jeff...so understand what you mean, especially that we both started this venture late in life, and for other reasons entirely, to discover how truly freeing running can be is like riding your first bicycle, or getting your drivers license..the best part, is that you don't need any other 'vehicle' other than your own feet and mind...you can propel yourself anywhere...great story, and super photos! Lorraine.

  2. What I love most about running, and runners, is that we all have our own reasons why we run and our own goals and our own stories - it's what makes us tick and I love that about each of us. To each their own, I say - as long as you're getting out there doing what you love! :)

    Pretty area you get to run in. No snow where I run...but I hear it's coming. Better dig out the trail shoes. Oh...they're still in my car from Moab :).

  3. Thanks for this post mate, this is how we should do it. There is little other 'why' behind running but that it's in our nature. If you don't mind, speaking of nature: I published a post about the science of barefoot running on bftrails.wordpress.com yesterday. You could like that one.
    Cheers Elias

  4. Beautiful words and pictures Jeff!

  5. love that quote! and such beautiful pictures!

  6. Jeff
    Your posts are always so thoughtful and full of inspiration, what you wrote can be used in life not just in running


  7. It really is fun just running with no goal, doing what feels right, doing what you want and enjoying it!


I live for comments.. so leave one! Thanks!