Have you ever had this moment on your run when you body kicked in a whole new gear on its favorite terrain and you felt like a wild animal flying through the trail?!
It is my absolutely most favorite part of trail running, this moment when you feel that you are running with your heart, when the clock stops existing and it’s just you and the earth beneath your feet. When I have this moment on my run, it makes every effort that took me to get there worth it. The five hours spent on the road to run less then two, the lungs that are burning from the bronchitis you are still recovering from, the nausea – it all disappears, it all makes sense, you feel a part of the woods and it reflects in you.
As I was running the single track of Michaux Forest, the trail race that made me completely and fully without a doubt fall in love with trail running a year ago, I felt exuberant to recognize the creek crossings, the grueling ascents, and the serene beauty this place struck me with. But THIS moment was waiting for me at mile five where the trail became technical with rocks and roots, mud, and puddles. That’s when, suddenly, my body knew how to make a safe passage, where to place my quick foot, how to balance on the narrow edges of the grey stone. I caught myself flying through ankle twisting trail with ease as if it was a field of wild flowers!
In that moment, lasting for about a mile of this twisting passage, I knew why I was on this trail again a year later, driving hundreds of miles to run this nine mile race with bronchitis that was holding my chest captive, not letting me take breaths of air deep enough to quicken my pace, exhausting my energy, and causing nausea every time I pushed myself.
That’s when I knew I got what I came here for and that I’d be back next year!