Sunday, September 22, 2013

Leaving the Asphalt Behind

There have been countless miles on the asphalt over the years averaging approximately 1,500 miles a year. I cannot begin to tell you about the many near misses I encountered over those years by distracted drivers, or those who simply are unaware they are driving a vehicle. Needless to say, my nerves eventually became frayed by the numerous vehicles with detached mufflers blaring pass me. As for the smoking pedestrians, they didn't make matters any better after an afternoon of inhaling exhaust fumes. My runs were no longer exhilarating and were quickly becoming a chore. With a new year approaching, and a marathon under my belt, I decided I had to approach this year with a new challenge. I discovered trail running this year as I began training for a series of long distance obstacle races, and in the process fell back in love with running. The trails have freed me from the mundane and have provided me with an outlet that running the roads could never provide. Whenever I run the trails I am the freest I have ever been and it is like the world cannot catch me. Running the trails has brought a deep satisfying joy to my runs and has reconnected me to what it means to be alive here on planet earth. 

On my new adventure of running the trails I discovered there is a new dynamic to running, which led me to prod and probe the internet for resources. Among the plethora of sources on the internet I have personally found http://trailandultrarunning.com to be my little gem. They provide wonderful gear reviews from ultra-marathoners who actually use the gear for miles on end before posting their review. One recent gear review was for the Ultimate Direction Scott Jurek Ultra Hydration Vest, which I dismissed because I thought I had no use to strap a vest to my back while running the trails; I mean, my current hydration belt was more than sufficient, or so I thought. The following day was my longest trail run to date and I quickly discovered my need for a larger capacity option for my hydration and storage needs; needless to say, I am now in the market for a hydration vest. In the process of transitioning from the roads to the trails I have exchanged vehicles for deer, exhaust fumes for pine needle scents, and rude mindless drivers for peace and solitude. The other day I participated in a group run on the roads and I cringed every step of the way as I found myself longing for the freedom of the trails. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I Wish

The other day someone remarked to me they wished their life was as exciting as mine. This statement caused me to stop and ponder this for a bit. You know, I find a lot of people nowadays living their lives based on those words. I wish I had more money. I wish I was happily married. I wish I could travel more. I wish I had a better job. I wish, I wish, I wish. It appears to me people are wastefully wishing their lives away by unknowingly wanting to live the life of another. What most people need to realize is that life is ours for the taking. Eleanor Roosevelt once expressed, “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” There is nothing limiting anyone of us from experiencing life here on planet earth. There are tons of examples I can share on how I embraced my life experiences that make it extraordinary in the eyes of another, but it really boils down to how I view life through my own eyes. Each moment is life unfolding right before me so I have learned to embrace each experience and person as they come. I curiously lurk around through life wondering where it might lead me and often take an unknown pathway just to see where it may lead; this in it of itself can be rather exciting. My suggestion is to go out and enjoy your life while making good memories to share with others along the way. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Why I Run

I am often asked why I run, so let me start with the reasons why I don't run (I'm not sure if that fully makes any sense). Anyways, I do not run for health reasons, though that is a nice side benefit. I do not run because it is a part of some workout schedule, or because I have to. I do not run to get into or to stay in shape. You see, whenever I run it is like the world cannot catch me; running is much like a way of escape for me on many levels. Running for me is that moment when I get to chase down those proverbial demons and smash them to smithereens, so I guess you can say running is a great outlet for me to mull through my thoughts on the big life questions as well as the details of my daily life. Yes, running is therapeutic in so many ways, but the real reason why I run is simply because I enjoy it. Everything on my run culminates together into a wonderful experience that reminds me I am still alive and well here on planet earth, therefore I run.