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    Wednesday, July 8, 2009

    Lake Laps

    Distance runners thrive on new experiences; each stride takes us further into the new. Running an unknown trail for the first time is our addiction, an intoxicant that returns us to the natural. Lacing up at the bottom of a previously un-run mountain or trail cannot be replicated.

    The familiar is where we are most comfortable. The place we go to escape inside ourselves while running in nature.

    Like a worn pair of trail shoes it is always close, waiting, knowing you will return after the latest mountain run, new trail, or exciting race. The familiar has seen us at our best, setting private PRs to no acclaim as we dash from the second turn to the big oak, again. The familiar has seen us at our worst, dehydrated, sore, making excuses, and quitting.

    We know our familiar trail with a lover’s intimacy. Every line through the trail's bends are imprinted in our unconsciousness. Each hill is as an old friend. We float effortlessly over and through it’s creeks, anticipating every stone and root’s ample footing.

    We know each season. Living their arrival, maturation, and transformation; feeling on our skin the metamorphosis from dormancy to rebirth. A runner knows the cold sting of winter’s breath and the quiet of breaking fresh snow-covered trail. A runner knows the searing heat of summer, breezy springs, and color-bursting autumn. The solitude of deep winter fills us with jealousy when warmer days bring others with whom we have to share.

    After your next race, destination running trip, or fastpacking weekend enjoy the privilege of your familiar trail, the one to which you turn when you need escape or simply added training mileage.

    The familiar is our constant companion. We have seen all it offers and depend upon every mile.

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