Sunday, June 30, 2013

Trail Running: It's a Mind-Game

This morning I "ran" five miles on a trail.  Last night I woke up several times from a nightmare in which I kept pulling ticks off my body.

This is EVEN WORSE than what I imagined in my nightmare.

I've never seen an actual tick, thank God, but I was scared to death that I would emerge from the high grasses of the trail covered in ticks.  I would prefer to be hunted by velociraptors.

Which of these images was worse for you?  EXACTLY.

Everyone in my running group knows that I do NOT like trail running for the following reasons:

1.  Ticks--isn't  that reason enough?
2.  Exposed roots--the scabs from my last fall are finally gone, but the scars remain in my psyche. . .and on my knees.
3.  Hills and steps.

Because of reasons #2 and #3 trail running makes me feel old and demoralized.  I'm afraid I'll twist an ankle coming down a hill. . . and that makes me feel old.  I have to stop running and walk the steps. . .and that makes me feel demoralized.  I don't want to feel this way; I want to feel like a badass.

Today I approached the trail with a new attitude:  I am not going for a run; I am going for a HIKE.  Hikers can walk when they want.  Hikers don't have to pace.  If I run a little bit during my HIKE, so much the better.  This seems silly, but it was exactly the mind-game I needed to play with myself to approach this trail with any sort of optimism, and it totally worked.

I even ran (I mean HIKED) the trail without music.

If I had emerged from the tall grass with even one little tick, this would have been a VERY different post.