One of the most exciting things about losing weight and getting healthy is how it has opened doors to opportunity for physical activities that I would have never thought possible. Basically, I have discovered that Sir Isaac Newton was right. A body in motions tends to stay in motion.
However, not only does it stay in motion, it begins to seek out new life and new civilizations….
Chasing Goals, Changing Goals
So those of you that have been following my journey on Not Done Yet already know that I had started running a little over a year ago and most recently complete my first 10K. I have set a goal to run at least a half marathon.
I hope you noticed my use of the weasel words “at least.” Because, as my journey continues, my goals change. A year ago running a mile seemed amazing to me, and as they say, just look at me now.
Going Off Road
As much as I have enjoyed and thrived with my running, I have to admit to at times finding streets and sidewalks to become tedious. After all, how many times can you be impressed by the same statues and monuments as you plod along? I found myself paging through running magazines and websites and lingering over pictures and articles about trail running. What can I say? I love a challenge and being out in nature.
Soooooooo last Saturday Coach Dan’s Boot Camp Running Group finally help me to take the road less traveled.
A trail run was on the agenda.
Interestingly enough, we were meeting up in the exact location we had the week before, and I was thinking, “excuse me but this trail is where?”
Imagine my surprise when we simply turned right and started running up a trail out of the parking lot. In less than 5 minutes, we had left the sights and sounds of the city behind us. As the leafy canopy of trees enveloped us and the rocky uphill trail begin to challenges us, a huge happy smile was on my face.
I was born and raised in the rural hills of Western North Carolina, and as a “ridge runner,” I was in my element.
Trail Travel Tips
All new experiences bring challenges and opportunities to learn and grow. As a novice to trail running, I can tell you that it is as different to street running as night is to the day. Yes, it is running, but with each twist and turn you can be challenged with a totally different surface from rocky to muddy, and each requires a different approach. So to me, trail running offers a different mental challenge because I could not just zone out and keeping moving.
My Top Tips
1. Wear proper shoes. My running shoes worked fine, but I am thinking any serious trail running might require a proper trail running shoe. A little more grip and a little less slip on loose gravel, pine needles and such.
2. Know the routes. As important as this is in road running, it proved even moreso as the trails often fork left or right and there are no street signs.
3. Use the buddy system. Do not run alone. As intriguing as a solitude trail run is to the nature boy in me, I cannot recommend trail running alone. A twisted ankle on a city street is one thing, but out on a trail it could be a very serious problem. Carrying a cell phone isn’t a bad idea, either.
4. Know where your feet are landing. Watch the trail for rocks, roots, snakes etc…..
5. Have fun and enjoy the journey. It’s what life is really all about.
The Trail Less Traveled
As I look forward to and actively plan my next trail run, I am reminded of my all time favorite poem and how perfectly it fits with this step in my journey. I’ve shared it here.
And as always I am Not Done Yet.
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
– Robert Frost