When I try something new, I come at it either one of two ways. I’m either really excited and try hard to get it right, or I’m very skeptical and do a half-assed job.
When I tried yoga for the first time, it was definitely the latter. This was years ago so it was still fringe and considered pretty hippie. I thought it was silly and only went because my friend did. I didn’t try very hard and probably gave off a pretty negative energy. Sorry to anyone who was involved.
Trail running is something I used to do every once in a while a few years ago when I didn’t run consistently. I mostly did it because a friend did and he gave me rides to races. Thanks Mark. Trail running was a different experience for me than yoga was because I already had one part down, the running. It was only half new, whereas yoga put me out of my element.
For the past two years since I started becoming more than the casual couple times a week runner, I have kept it to pavement and roads (hint hint blog name). I raced on the roads, I trained on the roads and because I didn’t know trails and have a habit of getting lost, I did not experiment with them.
On my week hiatus from exercise or workouts after the marathon, I decided to find the trails in my neighborhood that I had been leery of before. I explored the South Hill Recreation Trail and the Black a Diamond trail and mapped out runs to others. This was really fun and good for my legs to get off hard surfaces.
On Tuesday, my teammate Ian asked if I would want to run some trails in Buttermilk Falls state park with him as he prepares for the Vegan Power 50k in two weeks. Of course I couldn’t say no! After volunteering at Cayuga Trails 50 on that same course last Saturday, I had been itching to explore myself.
We met up and got on the rocky, rooted paths that make Ithaca famous. Although I had run trails before, it had been years and I wasn’t sure how sturdy my body would be. I saw myself rolling an ankle to be honest.
However, once we got going, my body seemed to know what to do. It was a new experience in a way, but it felt natural. I knew we would go slow, there would be a lot of walking (hiking?) and it would be super chill. I was ready and prepared to take on this new thing because I humbled myself to do something else very foreign to me; relax, go slow, talk and not train.
We had a great time. I didn’t roll my ankle. We hiked some parts of it. We talked the whole time and not it haggard breaths. Our pace was over 11 minutes per mile. It rained at the end just when we needed it to. I felt like I was home.
For me, trying new things is a challenge because I am not in control. Trail running is still running, but you don’t really use time as a gage. You use the weather, your competitors and how smartly you take in food and water (we only needed water, it wasn’t that strenuous). It’s taking what I do on the roads and making you use your brain a bit more.
I loved it.
What is the last new thing you did?
What is your favorite snack?