Tag Archives: trail running

I am not a runner — yet

My brothers, what good is it to profess faith without practicing it? Such faith has no power to save one, has it? So it is with faith that does nothing in practice. It is thoroughly lifeless. Show me faith without works and I will show you the faith that underlies my works!

James 2:14, 17, 18

Just as faith without works is dead, so is a “running life” without running. For the past six months to a year, I have been posing on two online forums to which I belong as a runner. However, in truth, I barely have been walking — and that just to get from one place to another, not as a regimen.

In anticipation of my 40th birthday, a few years ago I set as a personal goal to run in a marathon. Back then, I began by running 5Ks, 10Ks and even ran/walked a half marathon in 2007. Along the way, I also ran/walked/hiked/crawled a 25-mile trail/hike run in just under 9 hours and 30 minutes.

But I don’t feel bad about the time since the total elevation gain over the course was 5,000 feet, and it was, and is, just an accomplishment to finish.

Last year I signed up for the same event and then canceled when I knew I was nowhere near ready. Last year I also told myself and others that I would run in a local marathon only a few days before my 40th birthday but then decided against only recently.

Now I have signed up and registered for a 25K trail even in mid-April with the realization that I am nowhere near ready. Does this mean I am backing out of this event, which I might add, I also backed out of last year after already registering? No.

No, it does not. Instead today, I will begin by walking. I have to run walk a couple of errands today, and this is one way to begin. One errand is to a library at one side of town that is about a mile away; the other, to a supermarket at the other side of town that also is about a mile away.

That’s four miles and while neither nowhere near the 15 miles I will be doing in April nor near the elevation gain (although there are a couple of hills to and back from the library), it is a start.

I am not a runner yet…

…yet I will be again.

Update 3/5: Did as I said. Walked both errands.

I am not a road runner

road-runner

After a discussion with Craig Fleming, owner of Haven Shoes in Lock Haven, Pa. and a trail runner, I am opting out of doing the Bald Eagle Mountain Megatransect. I have written in the past that the intensity of this experience, hiking, walking and a very little bit of running over 5,000 feet of elevation gain was more than equal to a marathon. So even if in distance, I did not complete a marathon, in spirit, I more than accomplished my goal, I wrote.

For some reason, late last year, I told myself that to not complete the “actual” marathon distance would mean I had not completed my goal by the time I was 40. I then began thinking of doing the God’s Country Marathon in Galeton, Pa. and even writing about it here as if I would do it.

However, since then, my motivation has dropped to nil and only yesterday after talking with Craig did I realize a major part of the reason why.

Craig talked about his love of trail running, hiking and organizing an event called the Hyner View Trail Challenge. He talked about assisting people on the course to finish, even though they thought they would be “cut off.” As race director, though, he said he believed the important thing is to finish.

He also talked about helping a group of race directors for another race/hike and suggesting they not be so exclusive to only runners running for times or place finishes.

Craig also mentioned the God’s Country Marathon and how usually the race only has about 150 runners each year, and how competitive it is. The focus is on the medals unlike the Megatransect where every finisher receives a medal just for finishing the grueling course.

All of this also prompted me to think back on the times I was most happy running. It was when I was on local trails and not on roads. On the roads, I feel like I have to stay out of the way of drivers. I’m constantly looking over my shoulder. Plus if I stop and walk, as odd as it sounds, I feel like drivers are watching me and thinking what a failure. “Look, he’s walking.” Of course, that is most likely not the case, especially in the winter, when it is more likely they’re thinking, “What is he doing out here in this?”

I’ve thought about why I prefer trail running to road running. Namely, I can think of three reasons:

  1. softer surface versus of the trail versus pavement
  2. nature versus roads
  3. solitude versus people

Plus pavement bores me. With a trail, usually you don’t know what’s coming and even if you do, conditions change more than on a road. I enjoy not knowing what’s around the next corner.

So to this end, once again I am preparing for the Megatransect. I may do other races along the way, including the Hyner View and other races Craig organizes. But I am not locked into doing something by my 40th birthday. Instead, I am going to celebrating going into 40 and then being 40.

I am at “middle age,” I hope and this is a time not to be sad, but be glad I can do what I can — whatever that is, whether running, hiking, walking or even crawling through a course as tough as the Megatransect. I am just grateful to be here.

Let it be, let it be, let it be

The plan this morning was to get up at 5:30 and after reading The Liturgy of the Hours for today, to go for a run by 6:30. Instead, because I was up a little later than I wanted to be, I was up at 6:30 and out the door by 7 a.m. after reading The Liturgy of the Hours. Since I haven’t run this week, I opted to just run on the trails behind our house.

I want to get into a routine, where I read The Office of the Readings (a reading from the Bible and a commentary from a Church Father) and Morning Prayer (which also includes a Bible reading) each morning. As such, I’d like to be able to meditate somewhat on what I’ve read that morning. This morning, I was attempting to do that, thinking about a trip I’m taking to Mt. Savior Monastery in Pine City, N.Y. later today as I consider becoming an oblate there.

That was when it happened: I tripped on a rock and fell, face first, but I caught myself with my left arm as I fell, mud going up my arm and left leg. I had to laugh. Here, I am trying to be all “holy” and God puts me in my place. Later, I thought maybe God was trying to tell me something else, not to try so hard, whether it be meditating or reading Scripture or whatever it is that I’m doing throughout the day. For some reason, the song that came to me was “Let It Be” by the Beatles. Too often, I’m trying too hard when maybe I just need to let it be.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oZYqAeIdYk]

This post is cross-posted at Just A (Running) Fool.

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Let it be, let it be, let it be

The plan this morning was to get up at 5:30 and after reading The Liturgy of the Hours for today, to go for a run by 6:30. Instead, because I was up a little later than I wanted to be, I was up at 6:30 and out the door by 7 a.m. after reading The Liturgy of the Hours. Since I haven’t run this week, I opted to just run on the trails behind our house.

I want to get into a routine, where I read The Office of the Readings (a reading from the Bible and a commentary from a Church Father) and Morning Prayer (which also includes a Bible reading) each morning. As such, I’d like to be able to meditate somewhat on what I’ve read that morning. This morning, I was attempting to do that, thinking about a trip I’m taking to Mt. Savior Monastery in Pine City, N.Y. later today as I consider becoming an oblate there.

That was when it happened: I tripped on a rock and fell, face first, but I caught myself with my left arm as I fell, mud going up my arm and left leg. I had to laugh. Here, I am trying to be all “holy” and God puts me in my place. Later, I thought maybe God was trying to tell me something else, not to try so hard, whether it be meditating or reading Scripture or whatever it is that I’m doing throughout the day. For some reason, the song that came to me was “Let It Be” by the Beatles. Too often, I’m trying too hard when maybe I just need to let it be.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oZYqAeIdYk]

This post is cross-posted at Journeying with the Saints.

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