Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day 110 - Surfing the Trail

I need to run more faster. More fast. Faster more often. That's it. Faster more often.

Today was meant to be an easy day after 3 pretty challenging days in a row. But the guys dangled a trip to the Big Boy Trail (Town Run). I couldn't turn it down.

Most days on this trail, I take the lead going out. Being the most senior of the group, I consider that my prerogative. Besides, if I don't, the younglings bolt out of the gate as if their hind quarters were alight.

I try to set a good example when I lead out. Specifically of the value of a nice easy warm up. It's good to ease into a run, especially a rough and tumble trail run.  And most especially when the legs you are deploying on this rough and tumble trail run are old and the only pair you have. Same goes for the lungs and heart feeding those legs.

Today, though, they out flanked me and took off. Mindful of my long term goals and ever present fear of cardiac system failure, I stuck to my plan. Well and good, except that within a couple of minutes, they were out of sight and earshot.

Once warm, I realized that I felt good. Really good.

I decided to give chase.

The trail changes personality when you change speed. At a slower speed, traction is an issue, as the dust between your shoe and solid ground acts like graphite mixed with motor oil. Footing becomes tentative. Downhills are tiptoed.

But when you open it up, the trail comes alive. It turns from a dusty path to a flowing river. The mind drops everything and devotes itself fully to decoding the visual and force input, racing to compute the best foot placement. Ups and downs are tests of core and leg strength. It feels less like running the trail than surfing the river. You feel fast, agile, strong, alive, and totally at peace.

I got there today. It was glorious. It reminded me that running fast is how I run best and that I need to do it more often.

Same goes for the rest of life. Plodding along at a safe pace makes perfect sense. It's also dull. And only a tiny slice of the total experience. And frankly, not the way to live out the short time we have.

Throw a little caution to the wind, uncork your inner surfer, and let 'er rip.

Good running,

Numbers: 4.3 miles on dusty, hard, awesome trails.