Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Thoughts from the Trail

Subtitle to this post..."Ramblings of a Real Trail Runner." After work today, I ran the local trails at Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve. Wow, I am a real trail runner! The trails were basically 50% mud. And maybe 25% water logged. And about 25% "good, soft, runnable earth." My shoes and legs were covered with mud by the end of the 5 mile run. Actually, they were pretty much covered with mud within the first quarter mile. So what gives? A week ago I was complaining about the cold, wet, muddy trails. True enough. Three main differences: weather, music, and old man winter.

The weather today was in the mid-50s and sunny. Last week was mid-30s, windy, and overcast. Running through mud and water when it's cold is not fun. Today was sunny, calm, and warm. That meant the snow and ice was mostly melted...and turned into more mud. I may have slipped a few times, and struggled through some deep mud, but I wasn't worried about falling on hard ice. Nice weather really lifts the spirits and allows you to put up with less than ideal conditions. So do good tunes. Today was a fun run.

Last week I was listening to Joss Stone. This week I was jamming to AC/DC. Nothing against Joss, but her tunes don't bring out that primordial trail running beast within us. AC/DC is rude, loud, and primal. A little "Back in Black" or "Highway to Hell" sure helps when you are pushing up a muddy hill. Angus and friends put out some awesome music ("Back in Black" is one of the best rock albums ever). Don't get me wrong, If I'm at a dinner party, I'd rather sit across from Joss than Brian Johnson. She's a hottie from Kent and he's...well, not cute.

The last reason this week's run went better...old man winter is getting long in the tooth! Winter is almost over. I can feel spring coming. My feet and legs know it too. Let it rain, let it snow, let it blow...warmer temps are on the way. The snow won't last. The rain will feel good. Spring is officially here on March 20th--that's next week. I can hold out and put up with whatever trail conditions we get. It'll be better soon.

I am a real trail runner. I smiled for 39 minutes during my 40 minute trail run today. A nice, muddy trail run will do that for you. The first minute was my acclimation phase from parking lot to muddy trail. Have you seen my trail shoes? Did you compare the before and after pictures at the beginning of this post? Who doesn't like trail running? It's time to get off the roads (or treadmills) and hit the trails. I hope to see some new and old friends this Saturday for the last Clinton Lake training run. We are expecting some rain this week...I think it's going to be muddy.

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