I discovered trail running last summer, but I never really embraced it until 100-degree temperatures forced me into the shade. I run in the evenings during the week, and it's still blazing hot on the road at 6:30 p.m. But trails offer a smidgen of relief, and having to watch every step I take so I don't face plant over a tree root keeps things exciting.
Also? They're gorgeous.
When I run on the road, I get bored easily. I rely on my iPod to keep my feet moving, and I check my Garmin about every 30 seconds. I have never finished my run and thought, "Bummer, I'm sad those 4 miles are over. I really want to keep going." It's always a countdown until I can stop, breathe normally and chug chocolate milk.
But on the trails, I never listen to music. I focus on every footfall to maintain my balance, dodging rocks, roots and tree branches. I trudge up hills and fly down the other side. I startle squirrels, and mountain bikers startle me. There's no time to check my Garmin because I might trip and fall. Plus, I already know it says I'm going terribly slow. I don't worry about my pace on the trail. I trot more than I run, and I consider it a success if I run the whole way without walking or falling down. I usually run with Trea, but I've never ventured into the woods alone just yet. I need someone to lead and break through the spiderwebs.
Trail runs are also fun as a group. It's a single track, and we run single file. It's an excellent excuse to get together with friends and forget about who's fast and who's slow (me!). We moan and groan on the tough sections, take wrong turns occasionally, but we always have fun.
This change of scenery is exactly what I've been needing!