I haven’t done a solo trail run for a long time, so this past weekend’s run was especially satisfying. Typically on the weekends, I run with my dear friends Kelly and John—well, Kelly and I run together, John runs way ahead, but we figure out which trails we’re going to do, pile in the car, run, eat, drive home. It’s a good routine. So on Saturday, with them out of town, I drove out to the Greensboro trails for my own run.
I typically prefer group runs when I’m on the road. Road running is okay—I do it almost every evening, and I definitely enjoy it, and I’m, well, okay, addicted. So with great trails a 40-minute drive away, I settle for the convenience of the road and meet up with my running group after work. But for me, comparing road running to trail running is like comparing grape juice to wine. I like grape juice. It's sweet and healthy, but wine--wine--is literally and figuratively intoxicating. Trail running is my wine.
So given the opportunity, I’d run on trails every day.
Trail running and mountain biking are very similar: I prefer to be alone—usually. I listen to my music, I concentrate on the roots and twisty singletrack, and I let go.
So back to Saturday’s run. I was feeling quite, well, sprightly, so I filled my camelback with water, packed two energy bars, and set off for a three-hour run. I cannot describe the feeling of contentment that it gave me. I know to some it may seem odd that the highlight of my week is a three-hour run, but it was absolutely fantastic. I usually try to pick up the pace on the last third of the run, and this time, I felt like a kid playing in the trees. Just running, dodging branches, celebrating how good it feels to be physical.
I’m not training for anything right now, specifically, so I really don’t know why I feel compelled to put in so many weekend miles, except for the sheer reason that it’s good for my soul.
And that, I believe, is the best reason of all.