My mother-in-law makes some positively amazing meatloaf. I don’t know what’s in it and I don’t want to know. I like the mystery. (I can only assume that ingredients include a mixture of sunshine, rainbows, and unicorn sparkles.
Ingredient #1 – The ScenerySure, you can see some beautiful stuff running on the road. I mean those parked cars and miles of endless white line on asphalt are nice to look at. But there is nothing that can match the beauty of a trail weaving through the aspens or climbing to the top of a mesa and seeing the expanse of nature surrounding you.
Ingredient #2 – The Uncertainty
Unlike the safe, predictability of road running, you never quite know what you’re going to get out on the trail. My mom’s meatloaf is not very good. And by “not very good” I mean – if you gave me the choice between eating a rusty radiator and mom’s meat loaf…..I’d choose the radiator. (I’m sorry mom. But you always taught us to be honest. Plus I’m trying to win a Scott Jurek vest from Ultimate Direction here.)
The point is that sometimes your experience on the trail can be as bad as an episode of Golden Girls. And sometimes it is a magically delicious experience (sorry, Lucky Charms for breakfast). I love that feeling of knowing that every run can be an adventure.
Ingredient #3 – The People
Runners are awesome people. Runners are family. But I experienced a new level of amazing when I got into trail and ultra running. For example, my friend Christie was running her first 100 miler and was crippled with horrible blisters. A guy helped her clean her feet, bandage the blisters, and get her back on her way. He wasn’t a family member. Not an aid station worker. He was another runner. In the middle of his own race. That, my friend, gives me goose bumps.