A Lesson from the Trail

A Lesson from the Trail

I have found a new love. I’ve recently picked up trail running, and I am hooked! I always said that running was therapy, but trail running takes it to a whole new level. The best part may actually be the fact that I am so focused on each rock and root (and not injuring myself) that I literally can’t think about anything else. It really is a form of meditation, enjoying the experience in the moment without distraction. For an hour or two, I have no other worries, no fears, no expectations, and no demands.

I try to practice mindfulness when I’m on the trail. Looking for the one perfect picture to capture helps me get out of my own head and enjoy the experience.

Something else about trail running is the amazing people you meet out there. I started out going at it alone. I would run on trails I was familiar with but wanted to branch out and try something new. I invited my husband to join me, but he wasn’t quite interested at first.  He recently just purchased a new Harley and was spending his time out riding. This means I had a lot of extra time on my hands. I decided it was time to make some new trail running friends. With no clue how to find people that would run trails with me, I turned to Meetup.

When I face a big hill like this, I often picture it being some obstacle I am struggling to overcome in my life as I climb to the top.

This was actually a pretty big deal being the introvert that I am. By the way, introvert does not automatically mean shy. For years, I let people convince me I was shy. Once I began to really learn and understand myself, I have been pleasantly surprised to realize I’m not actually shy. I just don’t get my energy from other people the way extroverts do. I love meeting new people, but I have to be in the right mood and in the right circumstances. I will then revert to my solitude to recharge.

This is my kind of solitude right here.

I’ve only been on a few runs now with a couple different groups, but it has been such an amazing experience. I believe I am already hooked.  It’s amazing how much you can get to know someone on a five mile trail run and the lessons that can be learned from them. I’m not really big on small talk, but give me an hour to actually get to know somebody, and I’m in.

One of my favorite little treasures I captured. I probably never would have noticed this if I wasn’t looking for a picture to snap for my Runkeeper save.

I showed up for my first group run a little early not knowing if I should show up at the scheduled time or be ready to hit the trail. I had plenty of time to chat and introduce myself before the run. I had hoped there would be some other females here since I saw some in the meetup group, but these were all pretty fit looking men. There was no way I was going to keep up. But like I said, trail runners are awesome people, and they promised me somebody would stay back with me and show me the way.

One of the guys had just returned from a big bike race and needed to take it easy that day. If you want to take it easy, I’m exactly the running buddy for you! Anyway, he let me lead the way so I could set the pace. At each split in the trail, he would direct me which way to go. This was genius. If I had followed him, I would not have made myself nearly as aware of my surroundings, and this enabled me to remember the route on my own the next time.

It was a five mile run which meant we had plenty of time to get to know each other. Did I mention I’m really slow? That meant even more time to talk, and I was happy to let him do most of the talking! The most memorable conversation we had was relating what worked for us and what didn’t when it came to racing. I was preparing for my first trail half-marathon and he gave me some great tips.

We talked about how what works for one runner doesn’t necessarily work for another, and this means lots of trial and error. No two runs are ever the same. Not only that, but what works for you one year might not work for you the next year, or the next season, or even the next week for that matter. Our bodies will continue to adjust to the demands we place on them, and likewise, we must continue to adjust.

Isn’t that just like life? What works for us now isn’t always going to work for us. We must constantly adapt and overcome. Just when we think we have it all figured out (we never actually do), life throws us a curveball. Maybe that’s just what we need to keep us from standing still.

There’s always another bridge to cross.

I’m going through one of those times right now. I’m already incredibly busy, but decided I was going to try several new adventures this year. I’m working on saving up the funds to take my husband and myself on our first mission trip this year, started up my own website/blog, keeping up with my kids crazy sports schedules, building my business as a Thirty-One consultant, and keeping up with an already very busy career and household. We have 7 kids, two are grown, and the other five go to school in four different school districts in two states.

It’s a lot I know, but it’s all possible with the right planning. I’ve always been a planner. I love lists! However, I’m finding my old ways of planning aren’t working for me right now. My friend and I are on the search for the perfect planner whether it be paper, app, or whatever. I will be writing more about that later!

If you’d like to be notified when new content is posted, be sure to sign up for my mail list here! If you have a favorite planner, please tell me about it in the comments below so we can check it out!

**By the way, I did run that trail half-marathon, and it was amazing! Also, my husband is now hitting the trails with me. I couldn’t be happier to have my favorite person out there with me