For some reason, I have a deep internal desire to run. Maybe its because that is what kickstarted my outdoor adventure background. Possibly it is because I have a desire to run a trail marathon. Probably because I like to switch things up and keeping it simple is a good way to go about doing that.
Running is one of the most simple forms of transportation and recreation. I used to read books about Jim Elliot, a missionary who was killed why attempting to reach the Huarorani in Ecuador.(wiki). He used to run, to "be ready". I thought that sounded like good advice, so sometime in between high school and college, I started running.
I had a pair of black Chuck Taylors and on my first run, I ran the mile to Mc Donald's got some water and ran home. I felt a freedom and a sense of accomplishment. This period led to several very successful but slow 5k, 10k races always on pavement.
The Turkey Trok 10k in Charlotte became a yearly ritual. I remember my parents coming out to watch one time, they weren't really sure why I would do such a thing.
I moved to college at Toccoa Falls College in NE Georgia. This was a great move. The 1000 acre campus butted up to miles of wildlife management area, and was within 1 hr drive to Helen, GA, the Chattooga, the Appalachian Trail and more. I was in heaven. I didn't make great grades in college, but I'm pretty sure that it had nothing to do with having the great outdoors right outside the dorm. I have theories, but that's another topic for another day.
And so I ran. Into the woods, up trails, then up the side of a mountain, off the trails. I ran when and where I wanted. Evening runs on the paved loop around campus became a ritual for me. I ran alone. Sometimes, a group would gather to go sightseeing for the day, to a water fall, or explore the Tallulah River Gorge at low water. I would join them and soon get bored with the chatty slow hiking pace and start running. Occasionally a few would join me.
I didn't really know what I was doing, but I was just going out and running. Most of the time I was probably undernourished and dehydrated, but that just shows what the body can take.
I decided to enter the Run For Peace Marathon in Charlotte. The race shut down because the director "took the money and ran". Not sure if he made it to Alabama.
I found a rudimentary training plan and went for it. I ended up injuring my IT band two weeks before the race while doing my 19 mile run. 19 was the farthest I had ever run so it was pretty successful. I tried resting and icing, then attempted the marathon only to bail after 10 miles due to the injury. It is something that plagues me to this day, despite all of the common treatments. I think it has to do with poor stride technique but can't get it figure out.
1 yr later, I attempted the marathon again and decided to finish no matter what. I ran-walked a lot and around mile 18, the rest stops were shutting down. I plodded on. Around mile 22, it started to snow. I plodded on. The ambulance came by to ask if I was ok. I was. I was properly dressed for the weather. After 6.5 hours, I finally finished my first marathon.
I started this post to explain why I run. I have not really addressed the issue directly, because I'm not really sure. The real reason? Because I want to. I enjoy it, it brings me a type of freedom, and its simple.
The activity won't be replacing cycling in the long run, but its definitely a handy tool to facilitate enjoying this awesome mountain range we live in. I am toying with running a lot of the trails I ride, just to slow down and enjoy them.
Feel free to join me!