After a pretty intense 2 month race season, I'm taking a bit of a break from hardcore training. Ironically I'm feeling almost as tired and sore this week than I was after the marathon. The reason is that I am transitioning more into trail running. During the past week I have run trails in Boulder twice, the second of which was a pretty intense hill climb. Although my quads are sore from Tuesday's descent, I am still fired up to spend time in the foothills again. Trail running is a totally different experience than my usual training. There is an ebb and flow to it, hard climbs, majestic vistas, crushing descents, calm meadows. I take time to absorb my surroundings in a way that I do not get to experience when I am road training. When I do speedwork, the only motivation is the potential for a faster race. When I'm cranking up a trail, the view at the top offers an immediate and tangible reward for the exertion.
Despite my physical weariness I feel rejuvenated in my running. When I arrived in Boulder on Tuesday it was pouring rain and 40 degrees outside, yet I eagerly bounded out the door to tackle Mt. Flagstaff. By the time I finished I was soaked to the bone and covered in mud, grinning from ear to ear. The only other person I saw the whole time was a park ranger who remarked on what a beautiful day it was. He understood what we were both experiencing. Shrouded in clouds, I could only catch glimpses of Boulder below, and at many times I forgot it was even there. All that remained was my struggle with the mountain in the rain.