Back in January, when I had completely lost my desire to run, one of the things that I knew would bring joy back was running more trails. This year, I made a vow to run at least 250 miles on the trails and to make it a regular event. It was something I decided to prioritise, and to do so, I changed the way I approached it.
In the past, I’ve managed to run trails maybe once every month or two months. I’d get the morning off parenting, I’d meet a bunch of girls, we’d run 12 miles and then go for brunch. It was a big, exciting, fun morning. But when you have a child, that’s not sustainable as a regular event. So instead of those BIG events, I started to plan shorter runs with friends. I’d meet them at the trailhead at 7am, we’d run for maybe an hour and then I’d be home by 8.30 or 9. I’d still have the endorphin glow of time on the trails but I’d also be there with my boys! Perfect.
January is traditionally quiet for us so I’ve managed to run trails every single week in 2017 and it has been a delight. I’ve run with 7 different friends and I’ve run alone a few times where I feel safe. I’ve run in 6 different places. My trail shoes have been permanently filthy and my stoke-ometer has been off the scale.
I feel obliged to point out that I’m still relatively new to trail running. I’m not GOOD at it. I love it SO much but I don’t want to portray myself as some badass trail queen who scampers up hills and screams down the descents. No, I slog up hills (often hiking) and if you’ve ever run with me, you’ll know that I take the descents slower than my late grandma. I’m not tough. But I AM enthusiastic.
This weekend, I got to run trails twice (I know) and both runs were so much fun I wanted to blog about them both. I took loads of photos and basically I want to share them 🙂
The first run was on Saturday when I ran an out-and-back on Skyline Trail with Lety. Lety is a new friend – our kids go to the same Kids Club at church and we discovered we were both runners so it was really fun to finally get to run with her. We were at the trail-head on Kings Moutnain road at 7am. The sky was getting light but the trails in the redwood forest were dark and gloomy. I would NOT have run there alone so I was grateful for the company.
Skyline is a lovely trail. It’s relatively flat. There are ups and downs of course, but it basically follows the ridge-line and runs parallel to Skyline Boulevard. Every now and again you see the road and hear a car but for most of the time you’re deep in the forest. It was the first time Lety had run trails like these and seeing her excitement was so lovely. We ran into the forest and round a corner and she basically ground to a halt and started exclaiming at how gorgeous it was. It was like a whole new world had opened up to her. Her enthusiasm was exactly how I feel every time!
We ran south for about 45 minutes. There were trees to clamber over due to the recent storms. There were muddy puddles to climb around. And bit by bit, it got lighter.
Just before we turned around to come back, we got to a bend in the trail and the lights were just incredible.
I know that this light effect has a scientific name (crepuscular rays) but it never fails to move me. Lety and I are both christians and we just stopped and stared for a while at what looked like shafts of light from heaven.
There’s a quote from ‘Room with a View’ that I always think of when I see them.
‘One might have compared the curtains to sluice-gates, lowered against the intolerable tides of heaven. Without was poured a sea of radiance; within, the glory, though visible, was tempered to the capacities of man.‘
We turned around shortly afterwards and headed back to the car. Running is a great way to get to know someone better…somehow people seem more willing to open up when running than in normal life, so it was great to get to know Lety better. We got back to the car buzzing and happy and feeling triumphant. It was a good morning.