Why I love trail running: Creativity vs. Efficiency and life

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,

Road running is a measure of efficiency. Trail running is an expression of creativity.

When my road season ends I’m always anxious to get on the trails, deep in the woods, leaving the same old routes behind. To jump over rocks and fallen trees. To spot and determine where to place my foot between patterns of roots along the way.

It’s lateral movement and change of speeds that’s freedom. Sometimes I’ll jump from rocks, landing in muddy holes, just to feel my heels dig in and break free again. I stop and breathe beside the river. The trail climbs and descends the ridge in a switchback pattern, the river always gliding along below, beside me. It disappears sometimes, but always comes back, while I climb and descend.

On the road I’m one plane of movement; straight ahead. 90 right foot falls per minute.  Forefoot landing, shoulders low and relaxed. But on the trail I’m slower and free to dream about new ways of creating movement, progress. Breaking free from form and function, listening for deer and birds between breathes.

Real free will.

vs. Fear. And always the pursuit of winning.

I wonder about creativity in my life. And efficiency. How I’ve always deferred to creativity and believed it would be there, like the river below, leading me to something greater. In between there’s the efficiency of life in general. Where I spend most of life; 90 right foot falls per minute, bent slightly forward, moving forward. Forward. Forward. Forward. 

Calculating. Monitoring. Pace. And progress.

All the while waiting to jump. Over the fallen tree. Through the mud. Beside the river.

I love you,

– Daddy