It was 12 weeks ago. I started trail running. I started a journey that’s led to hundreds of hours on the trail and three fold that in the mind—thinking of the beauty of the day’s run: the people and teachings, the translations of larger meanings. Morning wisdom sessions. Lessons in life so real you can pinch the skin.
Time spent preparing for a race on visualization and putting up positive thoughts for myself and the rest of the field of runners.
These seasoned vets. These beasts. Shredded mountain goats decked in fluorescent Kevlar breathable waterproof, water-wicking, water-dejecting goretex. Synchronized gps heart-tracking wearable tech. Short shorts, long legs, and sun leathered skin. The field of runners intimidates and excites. Head tripping, heart pumping, feeling like an audiobook playing at 2x, like you just had too much coffee or not enough sleep… slightly too jittery to relax.
Before the feet run from the gun, the heart has already been racing.
The mind has thought about strategy and pacing—visualized breaking tape or at least being close enough to see it stretched out on that last final push down the course.
Wanting to leave only inspired footprints and take a few pictures…
in an utterly futile attempt to capture the stunning beauty…
that your eyes gobble up the mountain and which you can sense in the hearts of comrade sport watch-watchers and weekender dream-
chasers who make up a field of souls who don’t mind putting it out all on the line to test the edge of their experience.
They don’t mind being put in an obviously undoubtedly uncomfortable physical and mental strain situation…
but they do it for fun.
They LIKE the challenges they ASK to be given,
in fact they PAY money and ditch weekend offers from friends and loved ones…. to possibly “eat shit, pee their pants and puke on the trail” (@madisonrose)… again and again. Bloody skin, torn tendon, ruptured wrists, unable to later make a fist.
All for the experience.
All for those times when everything goes right—every step light.
The wind pushing your sails willing you to win… when you might actually win…
so close to the end with your own personal best-ever grin, feeling so big it might split your chin…
electricity lifting up goosebumps all over the skin…
and when you lay down in bed reliving it again and again, night after night it continues to feed your optimism-producing mental machine.
It reminds you how to flow when your progress in life feels slow.
It teaches you how to fight when the opposing knight wields its most formidable sword and tries to overcome you with imposing might. You might know you’ve got this because you’ve practiced against a rugged mountain 20,000 times the size of any kind of surprise this game of life tries to devise.
And when these trail-stepping souls put their feet on the ground, pass through trees and push peaks,
their body is pumped with a soothing, and sometimes moving, physiological reprieve. It’s an endorphin-laced, body hair extending runners’ high that you can bottle and store inside your body’s cellular walls.
It’s medicine. Pure, healing, 100% natural life-sustaining, life-giving, life-enhancing medicine.