10 Down and Dirty Lessons Learned on the Trail

Photo Of A Dirt Trail In The Woods

Photo Credit: Charity Miles

Any day that includes trail running is a great day in my book, so, today has been a great day indeed.   I began my day with a long, challenging run on trails that are sacred to me, and as I took off down the dirt path, my mind, too, began to take off in its own direction.  I have logged a lot of miles on the trails, and the trails also have taught me countless lessons about myself and life in general.  What follows are ten lessons that can be applied to life both on and off the trails:

  1. Always be prepared.  Before I set a foot on the trails, I make sure that I am prepared to put my best foot forward by having the proper clothing and shoes, my iPod, and sufficient water.  Doing this preparation helps me to focus on enjoying the run fully and safely.
  2. Knock it off.  When I went to lace up my trail running shoes, I found that they were covered with dried mud from my last run.  The caked on mud on the soles can interfere with traction needed to navigate the trails, so, before I could take off on today’s run, I had to knock the dirt off from the last run. As dirt of the past run fell off my shoes, it allowed me to run uninhibited by the ghosts of runs past.
  3. Just do it.  Once I was ready to go, that is exactly what I did.  I simply started running.  I didn’t over think it or focus on my speed or the distance.  I just ran.
  4. When obstacles arise, go through them, and keep going.  Early on in my run, I was lost in thought, when my right foot took an unexpected dip in a muddy puddle.  As soon as I regained my footing, I kept going, soggy shoe and all, and I was more mindful of other obstacles along the way.  Before I knew it, I was so focused on the pure joy of running that I didn’t even notice the sloshing in my shoe.
  5. Run up hills.  It may seem counterintuitive to run up a steep hill, but with every hill I faced, I dug in and ran hard, allowing the momentum and determination to propel me upward.  The ascent may have been tough, but the view from the top was well worth it.
  6. Do the right thing, even if you stumble.  On a narrow part of the trail, I encountered a man and a woman walking together toward me, so, I moved slightly off of the trail to allow them to pass me and promptly lost my footing in the process.  Even though this small act of kindness left my hand and ego slightly bruised, I am glad that I made the effort to do the right thing.
  7. Go it alone.  I ran alone, and I like it that way.  While I passed others on the trail, I like running unaccompanied.  I didn’t have to focus on anyone other than myself and my run, and I found the solitude to be meditative and healing.
  8. Take in the scenery.  The trails that I ran are absolutely beautiful and peaceful, and I appreciated all of the gorgeous images I saw along the way.  The hills.  The trees.  The creek. The wildflowers.  They all created a picturesque landscape that made me feel like I was running in a dream.
  9. Finish strongly.  As I approached the end of my run, I began to feel somewhat fatigued.  I allowed myself to slow down a little bit and take an extra water break, but I did not allow myself to quit or to limp to the finish.  There is a sense of satisfaction that comes from finishing strongly, and I craved that feeling after today’s long run.  As I sprinted to the end, I got what I wanted!
  10. Rest and repeat.  After some time on the trails, I was drenched in sweat and splattered with mud, and physically, I left it all in the dirt.  I couldn’t have been happier, and I couldn’t wait to do it again.

That’s another story . . .



Categories: That's Another Story

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2 replies

  1. Love love love my trail runs!

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