Welcome back everyone! I'd like to start by congratulating all my fellow Rock n’ Roll San Diego Marathon finishers. And for the person who thought it was a good idea to put a massive hill from miles 21-23, screw you too! ;)
Now on to the good stuff. With temperatures holding steady at 100+ degrees here in Las Vegas, there are few options when it comes to running outside. Option one is to wake up at roughly 3:30 AM in the hopes of getting your run in while the overnight low is below 85 degrees (while this is what I often find myself doing to avoid the heat, the delirium that sets in around lunch time is enough to make me want to move to The People's Republic of Congo or somewhere where temperatures are relatively steady throughout the year). Option two is to run on a treadmill (though I would much rather cut my left arm off and slap myself across the face with it because that is how much I hate treadmills). Option three is to take to cooler climates, often times off the beaten path, and hit the trails (winner winner Tinder dinner)!!
Now, I have to admit that it took me a few (10) times to really appreciate trail running for what it is. The first few times I found myself hating every moment of it, carefully watching my steps so as not to trip, fall, and rupture a vital organ or two. I couldn't seem to ever fully release the tension in my shoulders and found trail running to be more stressful than gratifying. That is, until one day when everything I thought about trail running changed.
A friend convinced me to run up to the notorious "N" located conveniently on the side of the hill in Reno, NV. As reluctant as I was to venture out, I obliged and made my way up the side of the mountain. Never taking my eyes off of my feet, we were at the "N" before I knew it! I couldn't believe it -- what was supposed to be a 40-minute climb felt like five. And then it hit me: the beauty of the trail run is that you are forced to be in the moment at all times.
When I run on the road, I am constantly looking ahead, always trying to find where I need to be and how long it will take me to get there. Rather than enjoying the moment, I find myself looking for the end point. In trail running, I have no choice but to be present every step of the way, to take in each stride and enjoy the moment for what it is.
I hope that you too can find this pleasure in the trail...and while you are out there, here are my top picks for the best trail running shoes. May you find the best pair and enjoy every step of the way :)
Until next time, happy trails, roads, and any other unchartered terrains,