Sometimes you need to get off the beaten path, and change the pace. By the time I made it to the end of my last training cycle I was exhausted. I had been sick for almost a month, working retail in a run speciality store in the middle of holiday madness, and taking care of my parents after my Dad’s back surgery. Before I even made it to the start line in Jacksonville I knew the next thing I needed was a break. So, my goal for the new year didn’t focus on goal race times, finally getting a BQ, or races at all. Instead I just wanted to have some fun.
For months I had talked about wanting to go out on trails. The Mayor’s Midnight Marathon has had a lasting affect on my thoughts on trails. After several grueling miles on a gravel tank trail runners are rewarded with a beautiful single track trail through mountain meadows before climbing up to the peak. It is one of my favorite race memories ever. I knew I wanted to get back to it. I am tired of taking my life in my hands every time I go for a run in Atlanta. Fast, and distracted drivers quickly take the fun out of nearly every run. The holidays only seemed to make everything worse. So, I strapped on a pair of trail shoes given to me by a friend, bought a park pass, and headed to the river to explore the single track trails.
There is something about trail running that is incredible freeing. There is no worry about pace, traffic, or anything other than what the footing is for your next step. You can jump over puddles, speed down hills, and hop over roots and rocks. It’s something I plan to do every week no matter what I decide to train for. I feel stronger and happier every time I hit the trails. Sometimes the best training plan is to scrap the training plan and rediscover why I love running. So far I have to say it’s working wonders. Time will tell what it brings.