Monday, June 25, 2012

Sunday's Trail Run!

Sunday's run on the trails of Chicot State Park was a huge success! There 11 runners total, 6 of them hitting the trails for the very first time in incredibly humid conditions.  Everyone did an out and back run of anywhere from 8 - 10 miles and did great!  Here are some of our first timers:

Sandi (a veteran trail monkey) with her nephew, Jace,
who was pounding the dirt for the first time.

Dawn Broussard won the award for
"Most Graceful Roll" 

Emma Valentine gets the award for best quote,
"My Chicot cherry has been popped!"
Love Emma!

Josh Louviere isn't even over the soreness
from the run and is already ready to go back.

Lonny (first time) and Randy (second time) -
10 miles done, and Lonny already wants to do
the whole loop!
We hit the trail a little after 6:00 a.m. (which meant leaving Lafayette a little after 5:00 a.m. - jeez!).  Despite it being a little muggy (like running underwater), everyone had fun!  The same thing happened last summer, and I don't fully understand it.  We bring first timers out to the trails on a horribly hot and humid day, and they all leave with smiles on their faces.  I can't figure out if it is because we share with them our love of the trails before they get out there, so they expect to enjoy it, or if it is the type of person who is attracted to trail running, but it is not too often that we bring someone out there and they don't have a great time.

I have run alongside people on the roads who complain - ALOT!  But, I can honestly say I have never run with anyone on the trails who complains.  Someone may make an observation like , "My hamstrings are tight - I need to stretch", but no one whines.  There are times when one or more of us may get quiet, and the rest of us know that they are suffering, or they are in a low spot, but it never lasts long, and it never infects the rest of the group.

I think that running trails is much more meditative than running on the roads.  Yes, I can play my music and zone out on road runs, and sometimes I may get some clarity on a subject after a road run, but I think they are too close to home for me to completely unplug.  When I run on the roads, I always have a time limitation.  I have somewhere else I need to be, or something else I need to be doing.  I usually end up making lists in my head, while I am running, of what needs to be done that day.  When out on the trails, I am away from home, out in nature where I love to be.  The air is fresh (if moist), and the sounds are pure.  No cars, dogs, etc.  Trail running requires quite a bit more focus than road running - if you zone out too much, you will find yourself with a mouth full of dirt.  You have to pay attention on the terrain, which blocks out all of the external noise (kids appointments, work to do list, what I need from the grocery store, friends birthday next week, etc.).

When people come off of the trails, they always look exhausted and refreshed.  Their faces are red from exertion, but they are glowing from the stimulation that trail running offers.  I think running through the woods brings us back to some sort of primal state of man vs. nature.  It's an ongoing battle, and one I hope to  never stop fighting.  As long as I can keep doing this, I will always consider myself the winner.

Happy Running!!

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