The Magic of Trail Running

I love trail running. What’s interesting about that is I never in a million years would have thought I would be a fan of trails. Really. I started out running track – mostly 400s with the occasional 800 thrown in for good measure.

When I got to high school, I had a couple of events added into my repertoire including the 1600 (loved!) and the 300 hurdles (are you freaking kidding me?). None of that ever required trail running. In fact, the closest thing we had to running on a trail was the Clear Creek bike path. And for those of you familiar with that particular path, you know it’s not a trail at all.

Even after high school and college, most of my running was on the road. Oh, who am I kidding? It was all on the road.

Then not long after I had children, we moved to a house at the base of a mesa. A nice, flat trail was just steps from my door. Even so, I didn’t stray and continued running on roads or my almost road-like Fairmount Trail.

What changed to make me want to run up the side of Lookout Mountain or over North Table Mesa? A few things. I reconnected with a high school classmate who brought me back to running for real by helping me address some nagging aches and pains. As a physician, he was – and is still – perfectly qualified to do so. He then introduced me to my partner in Right Start, Michelle DelPiccolo, as well as so many other talented, cool and highly competitive adult runners. And, he brought me in to coach with him and another new friend at a local high school.

It sort of was a domino effect.

These new pals ran trail. Lots of it. As a result, I had to learn how to run trails, too, or be left behind. What can I say? The views! The hills! The obstacles! So. Much. Fun. And not a car in sight.

I think today, more than ever, I enjoy trail running for so many reasons. Yes, the beauty is everywhere in every season and that still astonishes me. But I honestly think my body is better off for it. No constant pounding on the pavement. The need to balance and stabilize my body with every step. The added interest of changing terrain. And did I mention the beauty? That helps me clear my head and set my priorities.

So if you are a road runner, I would highly encourage you to head out on a trail every now and again. You never know what you will discover!