Monday, April 19, 2010

Inspiration in full bloom

The trail is my muse

This is the time of year my romance with running starts anew. I'll be the first to admit that my relationship with the trail got a little stale over a long, snowy winter. But the snow has thawed and given way to the verdant splendor that is the Shenandoah Valley. Crystal clear views of distant mountains can be seen from my favorite summits, and the formerly bare trees have added a warm coat of green. I've met a new group of local runners who share the same passion for hitting up 15 miles of pristine trail on a chilled saturday morning

However, it isn't merely the cycle of the season that has me excited to run. I have been inspired by the people around me who have brought a new energy and zeal for the past time I can sometimes tire of. I have a friend, whom seven months ago just began to jog, and three days ago completed his first half marathon. My sister finished her second 10k, my cousin completed his first half marathon, and another friend is about to complete his run across America! In all of these instances I have shared much joy in following, and supporting whatever way I can, the hopes and aspirations of my friends and relatives. It isn't about the running. I'm proud of my sister for busting her butt to get into MCV grad school. I can assure you that it required far more dedication and effort on her behalf than any single race I ever completed. On the flip side, I am seeing old trail running friends set new personal bests for themselves, and witnessing the birth of ultrarunning's future stars.

So what is really taking place? The fact is that my desire to run is not motivated by a particular finish time, or placement in any specific running event. My desire to "race" is almost completely gone. On any given run I have no set objective as far as distance and speed. In the past I have attempted to have specific routines like a track session, tempo run, or long run. Sometimes I would run just to get in my workout for the day. This "task list" made running more of a chore than a time of peaceful reflection. I feel much more of a sinergy with the trail, rather than me versus the trail, or me versus the clock. Nowadays I merely put on my shoes and let the run determine itself. Often I find myself running more relaxed, at rest, and often further/faster than had I gone out with a plan. The results have spoken for themselves. I'm logging more mileage, more frequently, and still capable of capping off my 15-20 mile excursions with miles in the low sixes. The best part is that I wake up the next morning wanting to go out and do more.

Inspiration, I missed you.