It's entirely possible I might have had an epiphany this weekend. Trail runs are super-fun. I went running on trail and hit that happy runner's high that everyone talked about... where not only did I have plenty of leg left, I actually wanted more running once I'd stopped.
It was so weird.
We've all known for a long time that I am simply not a natural-born runner. All those long, lean gazelles who breeze across pavement with huge smiles and tell me that the "running is the best part" kill little bits of my soul every time.
I am typically just miserable on the run. Short runs. Long runs. Late evening. Midday. Early morning. Well-fed. Not fed. High on caffeine. Hydrated on the purest water. It's pretty much just a sufferfest, no matter what.
With lots of hard work, I've gotten to the point where- when I push it- I can hold down an 8:02 mile on a flat surface, with lots of huffing and puffing and quite possibly some crying.
So this weekend, I was at the Episcopal Church Women retreat for St. Mary's. Traditionally, one of the highlights of the weekend is a little three mile hike around Suttle Lake. This year, after the hike, two of us decided to run the hike backwards.
We hit this beautiful set of dirty dusty rollers and it was just such an easy run. For once in my life, I actually felt as if I was not going to die. I have no idea how long it took us or how fast we went. I actually ran without my heart rate monitor or stopwatch. I know. CRAZY!
I get so wild in the off season.
The next morning, we got up early, two of us, and went running again. I had a miserable night, being way too hot in my down mummy bag. I am not a morning person on my best days. But this was really fun. (After I woke up a little.) We climbed a big hill and ran through some gorgeous open trail, with views of sunrise over the nearby mountains and deer and flowers and all sorts of postcard-perfect nature stuff.
Then we went on one of those long slow climbs that is usually a total soul-sucking experience. Usually long gradual hills kill my desire to live and bring out all my swear words... but this one actually wasn't dreadful. It was a climb, but it was so gorgeous I think I forgot to suffer until it was too late.
I didn't even say a single swear word, out loud. (But I sure thought a few especially when my sneaker picked up a few rocks and twigs that got jammed right against my Achilles tendon. Ouch.)
And I think I realized that I must be a trail runner. All my best runs have been trail runs. And all the misery is on the road. So it's going to be off the road for the rest of the fall for me, and off to seek out the best trail that Eugene has to offer. Because when I'm leaping over rocks and tree roots, it's like having a superpower. Kinda cool.
But don't tell anyone I actually said anything about running was remotely cool, or I'll lose all my cyclist street cred!