Barr Street Trailhead
I reunited with a great love of mine this morning…trail running. Three summers ago I was introduced to a new kind of workout by a few runners. Immediately, I fell in love with the twists and turns, varied terrain, and leaping (or tripping in my case) over tree roots. Sometimes I would get lost in the exhilaration of flying past trees and not realize how fast my legs were moving. The only thing close to trail running I’ve come across in the past two years of moving around the country was a mountain trail called Devil’s Punchbowl near Palmdale, CA. Unfortunately, the narrow trail covered with ice kept me from losing myself completely and feeling the same rush I would get from the trails in Oviedo, FL.
This morning, after an hour and half bike ride, my training partner and I put on our running shoes to run Barr St. By 9:00 AM the humidity had already set in and I was not excited for the five mile loop. The trail is too narrow for people to run side-by-side so I ended up behind my running partner. Step after step I found myself looking at his shoes, focusing on his steps and forgetting my aching legs and sweat drenched shirt. If my eyes glanced towards the river or trees around us, I inevitably began to think about my exhaustion and found myself stumbling over a fallen branch. His feet kept me going throughout the run. When the trail would widen and we were able to run side-by-side I’d soon feel my pace start to slow without being able to focus on his steady rhythm.
Barr Street Trail
There are those that would argue for training solo because you race alone, but while I am extremely competitive and a hard trainer I can also be extremely lazy. Training with a partner elevates my caliber of quality workouts. Sometimes focusing on the rear wheel of another person will pull me through a hard bike ride and other times being shoulder to shoulder with somebody will get me through a tempo run and push me to a much faster pace. Besides, people don’t truly race alone because you are always on the field with competitors. Even if I’m the first woman out of the water, I try to hunt down guys on the bike and hold off women behind me. Countless races have periods of time where I am going back and forth with somebody on the bike or sprinting against to the finish line of the run.
I’m thankful to all the people who have given me a point of focus during a workout…I’m a better athlete because of you. I am able to look at what’s ahead of me and continue to push forward.