I have been asked many times in the past, “are you a trail runner?” or, “don’t you just love running on trails?!” I have to admit, this running mama doesn’t have a lot of trail running experience. It isn’t a lack of interest, really. It is just the fact that trails don’t really lend themselves to a running buggy, never mind a double running buggy. I also have grown to liking the ‘door-to-door’ running experience: Get running gear on. Walk out door. Start running–wave to neighbours, see the sights, clock some miles. Arrive back at door. Go inside. Done.
The whole, ‘get in the car and drive to trail-head’ part tends to be part of a more special type of running experience for me these days. So, when it does happen, it is new and exciting! Imagine the extra excitement of going on a trail run in late December! It is like a Christmas bonus from Mother Nature! This past Sunday I went out with a group for my long run, and we went into the trails. This particular group is very familiar with trail system, so it was a treat to ‘tag along’. I consider myself very lucky to live in a geographic location that lends itself to trail running–they’re everywhere in and around Guelph, Ontario. Imagine how great it is to hammer out a 3 hour run with minimal roads, and many trails…
Running on trails in the early winter is perfection. They aren’t muddy when there is a small dusting of snow. The leaves crunch crunch crunch with every step. The river (because trails seem to always follow along some sort of water, am I right?) is trickling and rushing. The trees are still. All that is seemingly dead in this wilderness is brought alive by the chatter and vibrance of us runners out socializing, making the first foot prints of the day in the snow.
We follow the paths, we make turns, we navigate hills, channeling our own inner mountain goat. There are many rocks, roots, trees and twigs. I watch every step as we pass through this nature. I have no fear of falling, as I am having too much fun to notice. I am also having too much fun to notice the miles go by. As we emerge from the trail, I take a deep breath and look back. Our footprints are there, but the beauty of the trail looks untouched. Cars rush by on the road. It’s busy. Windy.
I know I will be back, trails. Perhaps not until spring, but you have stolen a piece of this runner’s heart, with all of your nature–your mud and your cedar smell will call me back again, don’t you worry. I just might need a map.