While lately I haven’t had much time to sit down and write about my life here at Rant and Roll, I have been enjoying blogging at Live Out There. There, I about my life as an outdoorswoman and all of the ways I like to move my body in the wide world yonder.
What with my first trail race of the season coming up, I thought it fun to write about all of the reasons that I love running in the forest – and why you too should hit the trails! I’ve also included points on what to expect and how to prepare:
Last spring, after years of running on pavement, sidewalks, and urban parks, I tied up my laces, drove over to North Vancouver, and for the first time, ran Lynn Canyon. I had been to the park many, many times before, but only ever to hike Lynn Peak and its surrounding trails.
The impetus for this change? I had finally gotten Instagram (completely late to the party, yes) and the majority of the people I began following were trail runners (and very weirdly, stills from the show, Frasier.) Their beautiful captures (the runners, not Frasier) reminded me that we human beings should be running in the wilderness every chance that we can get.
Sure, there are many great reasons to race about our cities, but the unfettered beauty, quiet and calm afforded to us in the great outdoors – well, you really can’t do any better than that.
My first run was transformative. As I galloped up root-spackled switchbacks and bombed down steep wooden stairs I remember thinking, “I WANT TO DO THIS FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE!”
Any veteran reader of Rant and Roll will know that I have a storied history with the gym. In fact, the first time I was freshly pressed (way, way back in 2012!) it was because of a post about how I both loved and loathed my (then) gym.
However, when I suffered a small tear in my right calf muscle last fall, and rejoined the land of the gym dwellers, I had no idea how much I would love incorporating the gym into my early mornings! This month on Live Out There, I wrote about how you too can learn to love hitting the gym before the sun rises, and how to get the most out of your workout.
I used to balk at the idea of getting up and exercising before work. My line of reasoning? I had to wake up early enough, so why the heck would I ever choose to rise before necessity strictly demanded it of me? Sleep, after all, is a hugely valuable commodity and I was fiercely proud of my ability to distill my morning routine down to the bare minimum. At my best I could get my (very presentable) self out of the door in twenty minutes or less.
But then I moved to the lovely little Hamlet known as New Westminster and began taking the skytrain into my job every day. At the station closest to my house there is Dynamic Fitness, a lovely, evenly priced gym, and last autumn, as I nursed a torn calf muscle, I took out a membership. I thought I would give a pre-work workout a try, just to see if I could hack an early morning sweat. I could use the gym’s showers and leave my stuff in a locker during the day. What did I have to lose?
Continue reading my top tips for transitioning to early morning workouts here.
So kids, it seems as though spring has finally sprung all over the West Coast. Check out these amazing planters my father in-law put together for us.
It’s weather like this that makes me want to pull on my shorts, lace up my Asics, and just race around New West until my legs give out, my lungs deflate, and my veins run dry.
Okay, that might seem a little ridiculous, or even borderline severe. But when the weather is so darn perfect, it’s hard not to slip into excessive use of hyperbole.
(It’s like the hardest thing in the world times one million!!!)
So yesterday morning I went for one of the most kickass runs of my life:
I ran a 10.5 km in 44 minutes.
And it was brilliant. Smashing. Phenomenal.
Everything about the run felt natural. Felt good.
It was as though everything in my body was working seamlessly. My strides were just that much longer. My breathing was just that much easier. On the killer hills, my legs felt just that much stronger, and on the way down, I recovered just that much faster.
I’m wondering if the fact that I’ve stopped listening to music has anything to do with the fact that I’ve been having such stellar runs of late.
I used to joke about how I thought a serial killer would get me as I raced around listening to my jams at full blast, but most (most) of that was said with a heavy dollop of sarcasm.
(Although there are some stretches of forest paths that I’ve run where I wouldn’t be surprised had I at some point met with my demise at the hands of an overzealous, accident-prone trail biker, somewhere in and around those pine-strewn creek beds, due to the fact that I normally ran with everything turned up to eleven.)
But I digress.
The simple matter of the manner is I’ve stopped listening to music and I’m kind of digging it.
I like the quiet.
I like to hear the sound of my breathing, the crunch of the gravel under foot; the birds chirping, an anemic lawn mower sputtering into life; the cheers and jeers of a far off baseball game.
I used to rely on songs to pump me up and keep me going on the longest stretches of my routes. For both of the half-marathons I ran last year, I had specific playlists, designed to let me know whether or not I was going to make the finishing time I had set for myself.
Top tunes included Robyn, Franz Ferdinand, Gossip, Blondie, and Lady Gaga.
Hey, don’t judge me, you Judgey McJudgerssons! Good pop is good pop. And my running legs don’t discriminate.
But it seems as though I’ve reached this point in my running career where I feel as though I don’t need music to get me through the longer distances.
Of course, we’ll have to wait and see once I start tackling the really big stuff when I begin my training for the Victoria marathon.
Heck, I may be eating crow (and these words) as I complete the race bopping about to Rihanna and Timbaland.
But at the moment, I am running clean. Musically.
(Oh yeah, I’m not doping either.)
The only one detractor from my run yesterday was the fact that I felt a little conspicuous, due to the fact that I still had copious amounts of hair dye plastered across my face.
But heck, now that I think about it, maybe that’s why I was running like the wind.
I didn’t want anyone to see me. Or at least, any more then were absolutely necessary.
Because of this insecurity, I wasn’t the normal “social” runner that I usually am – waving and nodding to my fellow long distance lovers, and thanking those cars who are nice enough to stop for me (and you know, obey the law. Seriously, you might be surprised how often stop signs are blatantly ignored.)
Hopefully the running gods will take pity on me and forgive me this one transgression.
I’m pretty sure my home girl Atalanta will turn the other cheek. She and I are tight.
What did you all get up to this weekend? And what music do you listen to while you run?
And if you don’t groove to the tunes while running, I’d love to know the reason why.