Learning to Walk the Hills

I know I don’t write blogs often enough, but that is simply because I only write when I feel a strong desire to get thoughts out.  Thoughts that I think may touch people in some way.  I never want to write just to write, and I also never want to write until I am sure of my thoughts.

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I think I have not written in the last 2 weeks not from lack of thoughts (my thoughts NEVER stop) but because I have been spending a lot of time lately trying to gather my thoughts.  Thought #1 ~One thing I KNOW for sure is I am not only a completely different person from what I was 10 or 5 years ago, but even ONE YEAR ago.  When people say “you find yourself in your 30’s” they weren’t kidding.  I feel like I grow with each day, and it is a fascinating journey.

Thought #2~One area that you will see changing is in my fitness life.  From the age of 5 I have been trained and taught to go as hard as you can when practicing/training.  In recent years, when running became the only competition I had, that meant going out and running as fast as I can for as long as I can.  I would finish every run as strong as possible, and go all out to the end.  This would translate to races, where I would cross every finish line with nothing left in the tank.  I ran 5Ks, half marathons, and in October a Marathon.  Throughout this, people would say it was easy for me because I was a “runner”, but they were only basing that on the fact that I would finish each race in the Top 3 in my Age Group, and at times Overall for females.  However, the truth was, not only was I not a “runner” but I hated it.  I dreaded my runs, but it was the one way I was able to still compete, and the energy of RACE DAY seemed to make the dreaded training runs worth it.

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So, as I stated, I finished my first marathon in October, the ING Hartford Marathon, running alongside my best friend.  It was an amazing experience, and I am happy I did it.  However, it was like the end of an era for me.  I crossed it off the Bucket List and thought to myself, now what?!?

Throughout the training for my Marathon, I would spend some runs in the woods, whether solo or with another friend of mine.  Her and I would explore the local trails and State Parks for hours, and every time I would finish the run not with relief (like on the road) but being disappointed it was over.  There has always been something about the woods that I was drawn to, 2 of my favorite things being hiking and mountain biking.  However, I never thought about trail running competitively because I didn’t think there were any races locally.  However, as I started to research it more, I realized that there were options, although maybe not as close by.

So, I made a decision for MYSELF…no more road running.  I would stay in the trails and train a different way.  I would walk the hills when they became steep, and throw out my old mentality that “walking on a run was not a successful run”.  I would take some advice from my more experience friend who has spent years in the woods, and instead of sprinting the last 100 yards of the run, I would stop and walk.  I would finish my runs taking in the beauty around me.

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In these last few months I have spent so many hours in the woods by myself.  I look forward to every run, and I still have to drag myself off the trails, not wanting it to end.  I have spent many moments running and thinking, and at times STOPPING to enjoy the views and thinking!  With this, I have set some goals for myself for 2013/2014:

  • TRAIL HALF MARATHON
  • TRAIL MARATHON
  • Trail 50K
  • FIND AN ADVENTURE RACING PARTNER AND GET BACK IN IT!
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