Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Strange Trail Running Affair

I have the same problem with running trails I used to have with women.  I seek out the one that are gorgeous and difficult ones, and the few and fleeting good times seemed to be worth all the pain.  Sure, trail running is full of aesthetic beauty and training benefits you can’t find on the roads, and it’s a great way to train as you constantly have to adapt to the changing terrain.  But that leads to more risk for injuries, and I’ve had plenty of bruised toes, sore knees, strained ankles, and even a dislocated shoulder to show for it. 

All course seeking beauty and overcoming barriers and taking risks is good attitude for a runner, but this approach in your personal life can cause you to seek love from people you shouldn’t fall in love with.  Thankfully, a good therapist showed me the errors of my ways in personal relationships, but this desire to keep running on the trails seems like I’m stuck in a bad love affair.

I first realized this on a hiking trip to Berry Creek Falls in Big Basin State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains a couple years ago.   I had run a competitive half-marathon through those very trails only a few months earlier, but found the trails on that hike almost completely unrecognizable. That’s because I ran the half-marathon like a hunted animal, desperately focused on the uneven, rocky ground just a few feet ahead of me in order to avoid a serious face plant, ignoring the towering redwoods overhead and panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.  The set of cascading waterfalls in the center of the park is a place where people linger, relax, and enjoy the unique sights and peaceful sounds, but they were just an anomalous sparkling blip I blew by during the half-marathon race.  This leisurely hike through these same woods made me realize that running or hiking through the woods creates a totally different perspective and appreciation of the forest. 
So these days, a bit older and presumably wiser, when I get to the top of the hill or to a scenic overlook, it’s time to stop for a few seconds and enjoy the view before hurrying along.  I now realize this brief interlude is something I deserve, but the nagging injuries from the trails keep coming, especially since I'm not getting any younger.  But despite the problems, I don't want to give up on this relationship.  I may be blind, but I still think we can work through all this.

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