When we hold back out of laziness, that is when we tie ourselves into knots of boredom. ~ Walter Annenberg
They say that boredom always precedes a period of great creativity. I think one could replace ‘creativity’ with ‘enthusiasm’ and apply this sentiment to running. To say that I’ve been a bit bored with running wouldn’t be entirely untrue, and because the rest of life is so busy at the moment, I’ve not done anything to shake things up. I’m, for the most part (actually, for the “all” part), just logging miles because they’re on my training calendar and haven’t bothered with enjoying them. Well, all that changed this weekend when I answered a stranger’s facebook request for some company on a 5am trail run. Now before anyone loses their shit (Steph, mom) about me meeting a strange man in the woods at dark, I did at least do a little investigating (clicked on his name, scrolled through some of his facebook posts, and made sure there were no signs of terrorist, animal torture, or anger management issues – all clear), and I told Matt where I was going and when-ish I’d be home. So at the very least, if he had been hiding his psychopathy, Matt would know what time to come looking for my hacked up body. Kidding. Mostly. Anyway, to the point of this post….
I went with the intention of trying out trail running in the dark, as I’ve got 24 The Hard Way Off-Road coming up at the end of next month, and I thought I should see how many times I could expect to faceplant during the night. What I experienced was this bizarre blend of serenity and wonderment that sparked a level of running enthusiasm previously unreached. Ever. Bluff – a set of trails that I’ve run countless times – felt so new, so unexplored to me. There is this one stretch of the trail about three miles in, depending on where you start, and I detest it. I’m not sure why, but I dislike it so much that I walk it (which makes no sense since running would get me through it more quickly). In the dark, though, I didn’t even notice it. In fact, when we got back to the trailhead after the first loop, I thought we’d somehow skipped it. Alas, the Garmin said otherwise. Anyway, as we reached the end, the other girl (oh yes… there was another girl who responded on facebook, also making me feel okay with going) called it, as she’s coming back from an injury. I was so beside myself with excitement (though I was trying to hide it, because I wanted a repeat invite) that I stayed for the second round. And for the second time in two hours, I completely missed that loathsome stretch of dirt.
What did I learn from this?
A) The time of day has no bearing on the number of times I faceplant. Such is the life of a klutz.
2) A good headlamp makes all the difference. My cheapo $5 Wal-Mart piece of shit snapped less than a mile into the run, which was fine since I couldn’t see a damn thing with it, anyway. The facebook guy turned out to not only not be a puppy kicking psychopath, but a boyscout-level prepared runner who was nice enough to detour back to his car for his back-up headlamp. I’m now on a mission for a good headlamp. Also, this leads to the next lesson:
3) Most people are good people. We do share a world with elitist asshats who preach hate or mindfuck others into doing their dirty work, but that’s not the majority. We’re losing our ability to trust in the good nature of others (see above where I facebook investigated my hopefully new running friend), and this morning was a good reminder to reel that back in.
4) And the reason I started writing this post… If you’re bored, use that to get unbored. “Boredom always precedes a period of great creativity.” Or enthusiasm… whatever. But YOU (um, me) have to make the decision to get creative, get enthusiastic, get a different perspective, get out of that funk.
This is a shot of the sunrise as I'm leaving the trails. I'm no photographer, so it was much prettier in person. Also, it feels amazing to be finished with a run before the sun is even up.
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