Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Perfect Run

Just over ten years ago, Derrick and I attempted to fastpack the Rideau Trail from Ottawa to Kingston for our honeymoon run. We fell short of that goal, but when I wrote of the attempt for a Trail Runner article I rationalized that we'd someday finish up the parts of the trail we had missed. To be honest I didn't even believe myself because I thought we had already seen all the good parts of the trail, either on our training runs through the years, or in the four days we were on the trail for that fastpack.

This weekend we were running the Foley Mountain section of the RT, and Derrick was keen on checking out a trail segment that headed west from there. We had never noticed the trailhead before and weren't expecting much, so we were thrilled when it turned out to be a total gem of a trail. It was everything that I love about trail running in the Canadian Shield: lots of steep ups and downs and very rocky. Some sections were flat rock along ridges and others were littered with smaller rocks where you have to focus on every step. I love how the constant changes keep you in the flow of the moment.

Lately I've been feeling stale and finding it hard to muster much excitement in my running. When I'm in a phase like this I inevitably find I start looking too hard for satisfaction from running in the wrong way. By wrong I guess I mean backwards, because I'm looking for elusive outcomes to make it all better. Things like insisting on certain times, splits, placing, and workout paces, arriving at goals, and even that good old buddy BMI, are all simply outcomes. They usually stem from the inputs of finding peace, joy and solitude in nature; de-stressing via a good workout; being inspired by the pull of adventure; sharing miles and encouragement with others; choosing meaningful goals to work towards; doing work solely for the satisfaction it brings; and of course, playing just for the fun of it. 

This unexpected section of trail, discovered a decade after I thought there was nothing left to see here, with just the perfect person on a perfect summer day, reminded me to shift my mind out of reverse, and instead just go with the flow.