I did an 11-mile road run yesterday: A 2-mile warm up and then 9 with the Fleet Feet group I’m mentoring. Then, I rushed up the mountain to catch a trail group for another 9 miles. Three different groups, essentially, to build my 20-mile day. It was PERFECT and basically the only way I can handle long runs. I’ll do an hour by myself if I have to, but I’d rather find groups to run with, even if I have to combine several groups into one.
In the Fall, it’s easier to find groups doing long runs because everyone is training for the same big local races. But right now, most are done with their long races and I still have my 12-hour run in two weeks. So, I piece together groups and hope I get my miles in with others instead of by myself.
I ran ahead of the trail group yesterday because I knew I’d need to stop periodically and stretch and I didn’t want to slow them down. It’s hard to find places to stretch in the woods, especially when all of the trails are covered in mud. I did find a nice spot at one point which is when I took the picture above. I basically was laying down on the trail stretching my IT band and thought, This is just awesome.
I love trail-running because it channels so much of the inner-child-Zoot. She gets to splash in puddles and run in mud and climb rocks and I just feel so young out there. But laying down on the ground to stretch? Was even better. I’m sitting there, 38-years old, on a bed of leaves and rocks and dirt and just looking up at the blue sky and thinking I could sleep right here. It’s just perfect.
I run road miles for training but I run on the trails for therapy. You can’t let your mind wander too much from the moment or you’ll fall and break your neck. You feel young and childish covered in mud and climbing on rocks. There are no human sounds masking the sounds of nature, and you find yourself thinking Holy Shit, Woodpeckers are LOUD.