On my lunch break today I did something I have never done before. I went trail running. On days I do not have appointments I usually take an afternoon run. It helps me to recharge for the latter part of the day. I went to Tom Sawyer, which I am not familiar with at all. I normally lap the 1.25 mile course multiple times (which I HATE). As I was running the loop I noticed a trail which veered off to the left. I thought to myself, “Why not? Go for it.” So I headed off into the unknown. The trails in Tom Sawyer are well manicured. One trail ran into another trail into another trail and so on. It reminded me of the woods behind my parent’s house. When I was a kid I could get lost in them for hours. I played in the creek and dug up worms. I would take the worms I found and go fishing in the pond near our home. I loved being outside. I did not have neighbors which forced me to play by myself. However, I never felt alone; I had a great imagination which created unbelievable friends that I could only see. Growing up on a farm with land as far as the eye could see nurtured my adventurous side.
Yesterday we had a significant amount of rain fall, leaving the trails a muddy mess. It was perfect conditions for running trails. The soft ground below gave my knees a break from the harsh asphalt I have grown accustomed to running. Each step I took I could feel the mud splash up onto the back of my legs. There were tree roots, rocks, branches, and debris I had to jump and maneuver around while running. For about a quarter of a mile I climbed a significant incline that was filled with holes and steps formed by the tree roots below. I ran up them as fast as I could, smiling with each step. I came across Goose Creek, it was beautiful. I listened to the water as it rushed through the creek; it was extremely peaceful and refreshing. It was amazing to think 30 minutes prior to this encounter I was sitting behind a desk confined to four walls, a computer and a phone. I felt as if I was all alone in the middle of nowhere. It was just me, the trail, mud, birds and my good ‘ol running shoes. I was in heaven! I lost all track of time and direction within 25 minutes. I was lost. Part of me did not care and the other (reasonable) part of me was worried I would not make it back to work on time. I continued moving forward on the trail until I hit an unfamiliar neighborhood. I realized I needed to retrace my steps in order to find my way back to the park (I get lost going to the trash can at my house). I have zero since of direction and I am a complete blond most of the time. I began running back; with each fork in the trail I stopped and contemplated which direction I had previously come from. I recalled the creek, a small area I had to crawl through, and other natural indicators. Before long the track I started on came into view. I was on cloud 9 from the experience.
I rushed back to my car, grabbed my change of clothes and headed to the bathroom. I changed and was back to the office within one hour. My lunch hour runs are rushed but they are still enjoyable. I get in the miles I can and enjoy time outside. It is amazing what one hour away from work can do for the spirit. I returned to work more motivate than I was before I left. In just one hour I took a muddy, off road adventure back to my childhood. Today’s short lived escapade has made me want to purchase trail shoes and begin running the trails daily.
Here’s to trail running!