The Mountains are Calling and I’m Listening

I’m getting used to packing a bag full of running clothes and necessities and lugging it to work with me, along my laptop bag and lunch bag.  No excuses.  There are goals to achieve!  But more importantly, the mountains are calling.

After a long Monday of teaching 6th graders, I changed into my running clothes , hopped into the car, and drove to the nearest trail system.  It was a cold but beautiful day.  I was even more eager than usual to start my run, as I have a perfect view of the mountains from my classroom.  They got my attention today 6th period as I was taking attendance.  The sunlight was shining a reddish tint across the mountain range, taunting me as if they knew I still had 2 hours until I could be among the trails.

Packing my bag was key in fitting this workout in.  My boys, both teenagers and not yet able to drive, would be at wrestling practice for two hours so I had to plan accordingly.

I ran a familiar trail to the top of the mountain, past the mansion, and around the other side.  This alone time, just me and the mountain, renergizes my soul.  After a full day of answering a million questions, teaching 100 students, and being a Mom to two teenagers, my mountain time reminds me of who I am.  I feel totally connected to my surroundings as all I need to think about are my footsteps and the gorgeous scenery.

On the way back down the mountain (my favorite part), I decided to take a side trail up to a vista and it was absolutely stunning.  I couldn’t believe I had never followed this trail straight up before.  It was a nice climb with stunning views the entire way.  I reached the end of the trail near a cluster of huge rocks and enjoyed the view my legs had worked so hard for.  I propped my arm against the trunk of a tall tree and took in my surroundings, my warm breath forming tiny white clouds as it hit the frigid air.  I’ve been to a lot of overlooks but the words “holy shit” had escaped my lips more than once as I basked in my surroundings.  I flew down the rocky trail and back to my car feeling lighter than air.

I stopped for a cappaccino at Sheetz to warm me up from the inside out.  The boy ringing me up asked me if I had a treadmill and I just had to laugh because if only he knew where I had just been!

Standing on the top of the mountain tonight, alone and feeling stronger than ever, I realized how much running has changed for me over the years.  It is less about logging miles or hitting certain paces, and more about the journey.  The adventure, and the physical challenge of conquering a steep climb or a technical trail full of rocks and roots makes huge pay offs to my soul.  It is rewarding in ways that road running never was.  The feeling of accomplishment, strength, adventure, and connection to my surroundings is difficult to put into words.  Perhaps that’s why trail runners are such a close-knit community.   I’m pretty sure my road running friends don’t really get it, and that’s okay.  It’s not for everyone….but it’s definitely for me.

I like being passionate about something that few people get.  I like pursing dreams that most people think are insane or completely out of reach.  It feeds my soul.  I’m hungry for adventure and the mountains are calling.

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