Last night, thanks to an invite from my friend Jeanie, I went to a trail running film festival. For two and a half hours, we watched short films on people who do off-road running. I’m very much a road runner because I like to know my feet will plant firmly in front of me, but a couple of years ago, I started doing some trail running in an effort to deal with a post-race slump I was experiencing. I’ve found it difficult at times but always super fun. This film festival showed me another side of trail running – a crazy and fun community of people who like to push their bodies to extremes in stunningly beautiful environments. Dare I say I might have to try one of the races featured in one of the films?
One race in particular – the Deception Pass 50K – struck me because it takes place on Whidbey Island, a place I’ve come to love. I’m thinking I might have to head that way in December of 2015 to test my limits a bit. I’ve never run more than 12 miles on a trail, so doing 30 miles would be a real challenge. I’d need to make sure that I have a reasonable chance of making the time cutoffs, which I think means doing two things: (1) running 30 miles on the road to make sure I can handle the distance and (2) spending a great deal of time on the trails in the coming year so that I build my confidence in my footing. A month or so ago, one of the women on my Kilimanjaro climb had suggested a 30-mile race in Fort Worth in March, so I’m seeing the dots connect and thinking I should sign up for the Fort Worth race and get back out on the trails this winter and spring.
Some of what I saw last night sounded like lunacy. In particular, I’m not sure that I ever need to try the Mt. Marathon race in Alaska, which apparently is a crazy steep mile-and-a-half up and an even crazier steep mile-and-a-half down the other side. Oh – and there’s no actual trail so everyone just finds their own path. I think I’d fall off the side of the mountain going up or down and certainly I’d get in the way of the people who were actually trying to run the damn thing. So there will be no lunacy on that scale for me, but I was intrigued for sure.
I really liked what I saw in the people featured in the films and even in the audience. They were fit and focused and driven people who love the outdoors and all the adventure the natural world can bring. I have some of that in me from my Grand Canyon experience, which was my first ever real hiking and camping experience. I think I developed more of it on my Kilimanjaro climb. But I’d like to spend more of my time outdoors than I do – and not just swimming, biking and running. I really like the idea of an ultra run on trails, and I’m encouraged from what I saw last night to know that people aren’t always running those races. By necessity, there’s some hiking – actual walking – involved depending on the terrain.
I don’t know. I think this film festival stirred something up in me. I’m going to listen to my inner rumblings and see where they lead.