I am surrounded by talented and dedicated runners, who inspire me in their own way: Some are astonishingly fast, some have run more races than I probably will in a lifetime, some have defied "senoritis," some run 100 miles in just under twelve hours and others keep running.
|My fall results from the Mount Wilson Trail.
Today, however, I want to take the opportunity to thank Mike, also known as the ungirtrunner, and Jimmy for introducing me to trail running. Back in May, when I started running trails, I was ten pounds heavier, had knee issues, and barely covered four miles before being out of breath. Unaccustomed to trail running, I stumbled countless times, and even fell down flat on my face, tearing through a pair of running shoes.
Still, I returned to the trails every day. The trails, for the most part, are shady and cool. Four huffing 'n puffing milers became 8, and then 10. At first I wore long pants to ward off all the ticks lurking in the bushes, waiting to sink their heads into my skin. After a few days though, I switched over to running shorts, and a few days after that, I stripped my shirt down to a sport bra.
I stopped tracking my time, which consistently reported inaccurate results thanks to the no-signal GPS on switchbacks, instead I now focus on the natural scenery enveloping me. Deer, coyotes, even a small black bear have already crossed my path. I observe the prints and tracks that walked, hopped or glided before me. Occasionally the trails would be interrupted by rivers flowing across, and now I 'know' what river stones in the river I need to take to get to the other side, taking joy in perfectly calculated leaps and touching back down on the loose dirt without losing a beat.
Running across twigs, pebble rocks and loose earth, and doing so with ease, no longer stumbling nor falling, is an exhilarating experience, and it has changed me this summer. I know I will miss the trails when the days become shorter and the nights longer. Mike and Jimmy, thanks for inspiring me and introducing me to the natural path.