Sometimes when I'm running alone in the woods, I hear footsteps behind me. Of course, this scares the hell out of me.
Usually it happens when I'm about seven miles away from the main road, totally alone and my iPod batteries are zapped. So it's just me and the trees... and the pounding of someone coming up fast on me.
My first instinct is to speed up to get away. This could last for quite awhile, but eventually I slow down because I'm pretty sure trying out-run someone for seven miles just isn't in me, no matter how scared I am. The footsteps following me seem to change pace when I do, but I try to remain calm. I don't look back. Maybe, if I don't see it, there is no monster.
But before too much longer my fears get the better of me and I glance back. At this point I'm fully prepared to use my neon yellow water bottle as a weapon. (Maybe I can blind him with Gatorade?) When I finally steal a peek over my shoulder, there's no one there. I get braver and turn all the way around to look. Nope. No one. I am still alone on the trail.
Yup, those were my footsteps echoing down the path. Ghosts? Or just me?
This recurring incident always leads me to think about why I run.
I tell people I run for fitness and that "runner's high" that feels so good. Food tastes better and coffee is even more delicious than normal. My calves look nice when I wear a skirt. My dog likes the exercise. It's healthy and relieves stress ... but am I running from something? I don't know -- maybe those ghosts of mine, and if that's the case, I doubt I'll ever out-run them entirely. At least I know that scary thing chasing me is only armed with a Gatorade-filled water bottle!
race marathons motivation Callie Sonja coffee good run triathlon insanity not running Big Sur Mike Nisene Marks Scotty goals shoes sister tuesday mornings work Sarah West Cliff clumsy cycling distractions hiking iPod lessons Genevieve Leslie Thursday Morning Irregulars beach food hills inconsiderate people intervals run-life balance ultras weekend warrior winter yoga #RWRunStreak #fail #werunsf 10K Ashland Christy Delaveaga trails Guatemala Mom's help Oregon Pleasure Point SCTA State Parks UP backcountry crosstraining fitness half marathon honeymoon mud snowboarding tapering technology
"So be prepared to quit. Do it willingly and with honest resolve. You'll be back. The marvelous thing about running is that you will never become jaded by it. Boredom, injury or anguish may overtake you from time to time, but the reward that first drew you to begin logging the miles remain untarnished and available -- always. Just put on your shoes and head out the door."