Why Would I Torture Myself on the Trails?


I am asked why I would torture myself by running up and down rough trail.

A pavement pounding fellow runner once told me they don’t run trails because they want to run fast and fears falling. Lame! Part of why I love trail running is learning to run fast (relatively speaking) through rough terrain and then respecting the mountain more every time I fall. I don’t run to escape life, rather, I run to engage and feel more of life. 
The mountains speak to me and I mean that in a genuine way. I’m not talking about when it seems trees speak to me at hour 20 of a 100 mile race (aka hallucinations). I am referring to mountains speaking to me in a way of tranquility and empowerment radiating through my soul.
When I’m above timberline it feels like the world stops. My focus on the important  aspects become more clear. Motivation to be a better husband and father grows. Each step I take inspires me to take another.
Allowing myself to move quickly down a steep descent makes me feel like a child – in a way of feeling free and limitless. It give me a sense of not being afraid of falling and being grateful for every step landed successfully.
I love to climb. Feeling my heart work so efficiently gives me gratitude for every subsequent breath. I love when I have a climb of 3,4, or 5,000 feet and it feels like it will never end, and my body hurts. Then suddenly I’ve made it to the summit- much like the challenges of life. It reminds me that every summit can be conquered by putting one foot forward. Climbing a good ascent causes me to not get caught up on finishing the climb but being present- minded along the way because their are many wonderful views and lessons during the journey. In fact, often times the best view is not at the top. If my head is down and not in that moment I’ll miss a gift.
I love encountering wildlife. Some people ask if I’m afraid to be eaten by a bear. I say no because – one, I’m not a berry, and two, I don’t smother myself in salmon scent. Actually, bears fascinate me. Sure a bear could kill me, but I fear a drunk driver more. I love the deer and elk hopping through meadows. Learning to respect the territory of many other creatures is humbling. Paradoxically, it feels nice to not be alone in the woods…. There’s always some creature out there!
I love the fresh smell of pine and the vibrancy of aspen colors. I’m amazed by the fresh water out of a stream.
I love that no step is the same. I enjoy being scratched by the bushes. I yearn for a sunrise at the summit.
Best part is I get all this done before breakfast. I love sharing pics with my family.
We all are inspired by different things. Motivation doesn’t come from sitting in a chair. Exploring, creating, and mindful movement breed quality of life. Whatever is yours go get it. As for me I’ll keep running on trails whether you like it or not:)
Never stop exploring ! 

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