Trail Running High

This is the third year I'm deep in training for the GORE-TEX Trans Rockies Run and I must admit, its about this time of my program that I'm reminded how much I love trail running. My running career started in school track and field, with sprints, 400 meters and then progressing to 800 meter events. I ran my first marathon aged 18 and over the years have competed in many road races. 

Generally the preparation for these races was long and brutal, especially having to train through the winter for the Boston Marathon in April. I got so bored with running on pavement, icy sidewalks in winter and dodging vehicles as they drifted across the road in a text induced funk. I had to resort to running with music, friends, dogs and almost any distraction I could find, to make it through those bone jarring training runs and do the requisite mileage.

Then I started running trails and oh how my perspective has changed.  In contrast to road running I now have my nostrils filled with the fresh scent of pine instead of carbon monoxide, the surfaces I run on constantly change from gravel, to rock, mud and soft beds of forest duff.

The stride is very seldom the same, my body shifts constantly in motion and best of all, I get to run though fields of wildflowers. Then there's the view. I stood atop of Devils Thumb pass this past week and took in an eye- popping view of the Continental Divide and lakes glistening in the valley below. The sound of  the wind filled my ears and I was truly in a state of bliss.

No music could have sufficed to make me any happier on this run. No din of traffic, honking of horns or sirens, just nature at her finest.  All I can say is that preparing for a race like Trans Rockies is truly a fulfilling experience. And there more to look forward to... In August we get to race for 6 days in another scenic part of the Rockies from Buena Vista to Beaver Creek. Can't say I miss pounding that pavement anymore!

Paul Shippey