Finding purpose and direction on the trail

by lachicaruns on

I’m very much goal driven. Once I set a goal, there’s very little that will stop me from killing it.

Some people (read: el husbando) have called me stubborn or pig-headed. I’m OK with that because tenacity has served me well.

Life after marathon training has left me a bit rudderless since I’ve not had a goal for my running. I do have a post-marathon recovery plan, so I have something to occupy me for the next couple of weeks. But after that…

I don’t have any races until Thanksgiving morning when my favorite 15-year-old and I will run our fourth Turkey Trot in downtown Lansing. It’s become our tradition since it was our first 5K goal race and it allows us a bit of an excuse to eat pie. And stuffing. And homemade mashed potatoes. And, and, and.

So here I sat, rudderless, while camping at Sleepy Hollow State Park. I consulted with my favorite Leonberger who seemed a bit disinterested in my plight.

lachica with Khaleesi

I pressed on, figuring I could get some exercise and maybe even have a deep thought or two on the trails. I sported my new Skirt Sports Tough Girl skirt figuring I could give it a true trial run. More on that later, but I am in love with the skirt, which kept me warm and comfortable (and chafe-free!).

I picked up the well-marked trail near the campground, although I could not remember what was in store, despite having run it before. Oh. Yeah.

lachica map

I really had no specific goal other than to run at least three miles, enjoy the cooler temperatures and head back in time to take my favorite 9-year-old to the next kids’ activity on the campground’s calendar.

I immediately relaxed, enjoying the gorgeous fall colors without thinking how much I hate fall because everything dies.

There was no one around, perhaps because the temperatures were in the 40s with a slight drizzle and only crazy people go running in those conditions.

But it was so very worth it.lachica walked this hill lachica trail hill

There are several steep hills on them trails, but the view is so beautiful that I walked a bit and looked around before picking up the pace again. I was in running heaven.

I hadn’t been trail running in a while as I spent more of my time on the roads to prepare for the Capital City River Run marathon in September. I mostly didn’t want to twist an ankle or otherwise take myself our of commission.

But without a goal race on the calendar, I thought, maybe this is what I should be doing now. And then it hit me. My goal doesn’t have to be on a specific date where I can earn a tech T-shirt and medal. My goal can be to just be able to run where I can enjoy myself and try to finally embrace (OK, tolerate) the fall and winter.

I certainly have plenty of places I can enjoy in Michigan with its incredible trail system and plenty of friends who enjoy trail running and can give me tips on how to do it without killing myself.

So that’s it. I’m in.

lachica skirt

Have you done any trail running? Do you have any tips for this trail running newbie? What shoes do you wear?

Written by: lachicaruns

My name is Gisgie. It's pronounced geese (like the birds) and gee (like the letter). Now that we've met, I'm glad you're here. I'm an injury-prone runner who manages to find reasons to keep coming back to the road despite ongoing challenges. Most recently, I've struggled with piriformis syndrome. I'm currently winning. Most days.

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