Often (the last couple years) my first trail runs of the year, or my first trail runs in a while, come after receiving Trail Runner magazine in the mail. That is why I subscribe to it - it gets me out there. Today, I got two copies at the same time – issue 56 and 57. I’m not sure why they decided to send out two magazines at once, but I interpret it as some kind of double challenge from them. Luckily for me, by the time I got to my mailbox to discover the magazines waiting for me, I had already made it out for a great trail run on El Prieto. I beat them to it. Ha!
All of my runs start out on sidewalk. At about 1.3 miles I feel comfortable running in the street – asphalt is softer than concrete. Then at about two point something miles it switches to a dirt path – softer still. On my long runs, this is where I spend most of my time – the dirt path. My actual trail (mountain) running is generally limited to a dozen or so runs per year. I’m not sure why there is such a noticeable difference between dirt path running and trail running but there just is and it’s not just the steeper inclines.
I rode “Totally Eighties” today to the trailhead. I haven’t ridden that bike in a long time. I added 100 psi to the tires – that’s how long it’s been. There’s something very special about that bike. I’m not sure what the right word is to describe it (her) - delicate, maybe. But it’s a strong delicate – spry, lithe, lovely – like a violin - totally different from my other bikes - as different as dirt path running is from trail running.
I saw a lot of Mugwort (Artemisia douglasiana) on the trail - a cool plant. I heard once that you can collect its dried leaves and roll them up into a nice tight ball (smudge) that, once ignited, will smolder, flameless, for many hours – long enough to travel to ones next destination – just give the smoldering Mugwort a little breath at your next fireplace and you’ve got the magic of fire – the breath that reminds us… of ancient knowledge.
On the way down the trail I was trying to keep my stride as normal as possible without altering it to avoid trail obstacles. This was interesting and freeing, actually. It helped to maintain a good flow down the hill. Although, it did make me feel a lot like Bigfoot – big long strides that seem to melt into the surrounding terrain – not a bad dude to take trail running lessons from.
Anyway, it was a good day - glad to spend some time with the mountain.