I could never fully explain what type of perfection I feel when I run hard through the forest. When my feet pound the living earth...when I push so deep I think I’m gonna choke.
I love trail running in the woods. It is quiet in the woods. I love the sounds of the birds and the leaves rustling against each other. I love the smell of the trees and the earth...fresh mud after a rainfall, pine needles. I love the sunlight peeking through the leaves as your feet softly hit the gently packed soil. Dirt, the more I feel it when I sink my shoes in to it the more awake I become..the farther I run...the more it hurts and I welcome it.
Trail running is my therapy, it's my release. I am healed by the rush of endorphins, fresh air and the feeling of being lost and away from it all. I love coming around the corner on a trail only to discover a surprising view. I love trail running because it requires intense focus, you have to pay attention or a root might suddenly leave you with your nose in the dirt.
When you take on a trail run, you know from the start that you will run slower than you do on the road. Navigating the trail simply slows you down. This knowledge equals freedom from pressure. On trail runs, I still track my mileage because I like knowing how far I’ve gone but I don’t pay attention to my pace. I have a hard time doing this when I’m running on roads, but the trail gives me freedom.
Trail running has helped me to become more adventurous and to set more goals. I want to run up mountains and run longer distances and to see new places. I am lucky to be able to share my love of trail running with my best friend. We can run together in complete silence or talk the entire time even while pushing up big hills and it is fun either way.
If you’re a fan of Pacific North West trails like I am, I don’t need to preach to the converted about the joys of getting outside. There are many reasons, but most notably is that it can open up a whole new world to you, as it did for me. More so than hiking, trail running can get you to new trails and summits you’ve never seen. On Vancouver Island and beyond.
I used to love hiking until I found trail running. Now I find hiking slow and cumbersome. Don’t take that as a slag to hiking. But it actually annoys me to go so slow and for it to take, say, five hours to finish a hike I can run in about two instead. And that’s not to say I’m able to run the entire stretch of trail, or I don’t stop and take in the views along the way. At the end of the day, what drew me to hiking is what draws me to trail running, the nature, the cool forest breeze, scrambling over rocks and tree roots, getting dirty, and feeling exhausted at the end of it. Trail running gives us all these things, but just allows us to cover more distance in a shorter time, and while carrying less gear.
On Vancouver Island we are blessed with access to some of the most incredible terrain you can wish for, hiking, walking, mountain biking, or running – its a shame to not explore it. We have it all, from super technical to nice and easy. From climbing 1,000m summits to running at sea level, it’s there, calling you. And for me at least, the best way to see it all is with my legs, running as much as possible.