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. 

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