Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.
My wife recently said to me “you really love to run, don’t you”. It was a statement, not a question.
My response, “no, I really don’t think I like to run”.
I say that because if I had to run on the road I would quit today. Or maybe I do like to run but don’t like the aspect of meeting an exact pace, measuring splits, choking on exhaust fumes and all the other things associated with road racing. I do like the lifestyle running forces me to lead in order to do my best, I like the feeling I get after I finish my run and I like where running takes me on the trails in the mountains near my house. At this point my running can best be described as an addiction. An addiction to the trails, to running in the mountains, to getting away from the craziness of the city and the ability to enjoy the solitude of being by myself in places I know only a very small percentage of people have ever seen. When I run I do not use a GPS timer, only a Timex Ironman watch (I used to use a Garmin 305 on the road and for a while on the trails) and never listen to music. I try to run as “natural” as I can (and still wear shoes).
The next subject should be “Why I Run Far”. That’s a harder question for me to find an answer. I guess it’s because I’m not satisfied doing the same thing for very long. If I can run a 5k then that’s been accomplished so why do it again. My goal distances kept growing each time I reached one. After the 5k was the 4.2 mile Pat’s Run, Phoenix New Times 10k, Fiesta Bowl 1/2 Marathon (the Indianapolis 500 1/2 Marathon, P.F. Chang 1/2 Marathon too) and the dreaded P.F. Chang Rock & Roll Marathon. I say dreaded because I had just discovered the beauty of trail running and there I was doing 26.2 miles on the ugliest course I could imagine. *Note: I still have the Asics Nimbus 10 shoes I wore for P.F. Chang, they have maybe 20 more miles on them since January ’09. All my miles since then have been in trail shoes.
My first trail event came at the Mad Dog 50k. Shortly after that I was introduced to the mountains and the difficulty increased 10 fold and I loved it. I also loved the fact that instead of 15,000 people crammed onto the road for a marathon, trail races sometimes have 40 people entered, most the time no more than 250. After spending time on more technical trails and elevation changes I ran Old Pueblo 50 Mile Endurance Run in the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson, AZ. My next step is the 101.4 mile Javelina Jundred on November 12-13, 2011.
Will there be a longer run after Javelina Jundred? At this point I say no, but there are several other 100 mile endurance runs I’d like to do and several 50 mile and 100K runs also. There are also multi-day races but at this point in my life I don’t see that as a reality. Javelina Jundred is a challenge for me to do the miles, after that I hope my running is simply to enjoy the act of running in new mountain locations.