I almost always stick to the trails. For a variety of reasons. The first and foremost, I have a hard time mentally running on pavement. I don’t know what it is, but I have a really, really hard time running roads. It almost makes me wanna go insane. I can’t find the peacefulness in my mind and body that I usually find and often crave on the trails. Instead, I find that I’m screaming on the inside, like a toddler having a tantrum.
Yesterday, I found myself running on the lakewalk with my Tuesday running group of girlfriends. I knew that we had plans to run pavement. All day I hemmed and hawed, trying to decide what to do. I had run a paved bike trail up by my parent’s house the day before; the hard stuff was fresh in my mind and my legs. I was longing for the soft muddiness of the earth beneath my feet and the smell of rainy woods filling my senses. I wasn’t feeling well either and haven’t been 100% for almost a week. And, I was in a grumpy mood, which doesn’t happen all that often. Pull yourself together, get over it and suck it up, I told myself. Have I become a trail snob I wondered? Do I need to flex my mental and physical road running muscles? It hurts to run roads and my shoes are worn out. Am I just making up a ton of stupid excuses not to run roads? The answer to all of my questions was an obvious yes. But above all, the one thing that rings the truest and most important is pure and simple: spending time with my girlfriends and sharing what we all love to do. Running. So I went.
Despite trying to talk myself into a better mood as I jogged over to our meeting point, I still managed to show up for the run a bit of a sourpatch. I was in a foul mood and I hate feeling like that. We took off down to the lakewalk and ran east, I felt a little better. The pace picked up and we collectively decided to take it down a notch, we were still holding a steady 8:00/mile pace. I felt a little better. A quote came to mind, if you can’t get out of it, you better get into it. Boy, did that hit home! I relaxed into my stride and just let go. Just. Let. Go. There it is. I found the peacefulness.
Something dawned on me last night as I was laying in bed icing my right knee (it didn’t quite find the peacefulness the rest of me found). And maybe I’m a bit slow at just figuring this out. But, the peacefulness or whatever it is we crave from running doesn’t exist on the roads or in the woods, although it may be easier to find it one way or another. It resides within, you just have to figure out how to tap into it. And having friends to run with when you’re grumpy always helps, too. Thanks for the run!