I paused to assess the situation. Could I sprint up the hill before they charged? As I watched a red and white bull glared balefully in my direction. Um, no. I ran somewhere else.
When I happen into the Big City, people are running along the concrete waterfront, swathed in earphones. It's pretty, but feels competitive and routine. Compare that to some of the obstacles I face in my running life:
1. A bear at mile 1 of my 20 mile run (This run quickly became 19 miles).
2. A wolf in the middle of nowhere on a dirt road. I ran past, hoping for the best.
3. A mountain lion, concealed in the brush as we ran by (telemetry doesn't lie).
4. A near collision with a horse and buggy, driven by an inexpert driver.
5. Barbed wire fences to crawl under, avalanche chutes to tiptoe across, downed trees to hurdle. Guys on huge tractors. Huge tumbleweeds. River crossings. Hunters with guns.
6. Alligators (in my Florida days).
So it's no surprise that when I find a real trail I am overcome with joy. On the way back from the Big City yesterday we stopped in a tiny town that for some reason has an amazing network of mountain bike trails. On private land, but open to the public! Nobody was out there, so I felt free to run the trails without fear of being crushed under a wheel.
I had forgotten how great it was to run without looking at your feet for rocks, or nervously into the bushes for wildlife, or dodging pack trains. Lately I've been a little disenchanted with running because it's just sort of...hard where I live. Which is fine for character building but sometimes you just want the easy. I ran along happily. This is why I run, I thought.
|CURSES. Whatever I do this picture won't flip. Oh well. Tilt your head sideways. These are the trails I ran on.|
These trails are too far away for a casual outing, so I probably won't be back. Running where I live means I'll never pay for a "Tough Mudder" type race, since I can do that stuff for free. Barbed wire crawl? Check. Mud pit? Check. Uncontrolled fire? Check. It also means that I rarely see any other runners, so I can run at my own pace without the awkward passing thing, and there's always a small element of adventure in each run. I guess I'll take it. Though I will dream as I run of the perfect redwood-tree-shaded, pine-needle-carpeted trail.
Do you have obstacles where you run? Have you ever had to turn around because of one?