Finding That Happy Place: Trail Running

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There are days that I find myself craving the winding, rolling, hairpin traverses of the single track.  I am a runner, but I am not the type of runner who trains on a schedule or races towards goals.  Ney. I am a runner that loves the freedom I feel when I am zipping past overgrown meadows, or swinging Tarzan style on low lying branches, or launching myself to do side kicks off some rollies (must be the skier in me).  I run to be free.  I have no training schedule, no timers, no watches, and no idea of how far I am going to run that day.  Just running for hours. Well mostly running.

When I get to a trailhead, my regimen usually consists of lacing up my kicks, turning on that perfect playlist and then hitting the dirt.  Here is my dirty little secret: I find myself being pulled into the music and the trail so much I break out and start dancing.  Yeah, that’s right.  Dancing.  Even for a few seconds just to drop the beat and then I am pounding the dirt again.  It has become an addiction.  I find myself doing handstands, popping off tree stumps, using trees as imaginary dance partners; you name it.  By the time I know it, a few hours have gone by and I feel glorious! It’s as if the trail has a story to tell and I am its evolution witnessing the changing scenery and discovering what’s just around that corner.  I am celebrating the journey.  It is here that I have found my happy place.

It hasn’t always been this way.  I used to run on a training schedule, with watches to measure my pace and with a goal in mind.  Rarely, did I finish a run with the biggest shit-eating grin on my face. It felt like work.  Lately, that smile is guaranteed and instead of work it feels like play. The craving I get is not a craving for the physical act of running. It’s a craving for the experience, the feeling I get when I am in that mode, in that place, getting lost in the magic of the trail.

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