Monday, October 12, 2009

Organic Running

More and more each day I find myself running with a natural, organic, in the moment approach. Whereas my running used to be all about planned hills, distance, tempo, and intervals, I now hit the trail and see where it takes me.

Today I wasn't even that excited to go out for a run. The weather was really nice but I was in a frustrated mood and I kind of just wanted to go home and eat a bunch of food and go to bed. But instead we ran. And we climbed. It was cold and windy up high, but the cool air felt like medicine. Sitting on top of Gastineau Peak I felt whole for the first time all day. And then we began to run down. At first I was too cold to push hard and eventually I just kind of forgot about the notion that I could use gravity to run fast down the mountain. About halfway down though my friend Dan was feeling like playing around and he blew past me making some joke about how slow I was going. And then it was on. We continued into a pace that at most times might seem frantic, but because we had spend 90 minutes "warming up" to that speed it felt very smooth and natural. And so we sped up more. Eventually we were really cruising down the mountain and it felt so nice to think about nothing other than where to place my next footstep on the technical trail. We didn't plan to run that fast, but just letting go and allowing it to happen made for a nearly perfect run that trained both my body and my mind to be a better runner, and a better person, even if my quads are a little sore from it tonight.

I can't wait to see what tomorrow's run brings.


The Sean said...

true that

Unknown said...

God bless you, Geoff. I have marvelled at your great achievements all year, as have so many others.

I wish you continued success, and thank you for describing some of your thoughts, and runs, with us from the beautiful places where you live and have competed.

I know your post was on a slightly different topic, but after reading it I was thinking:

"He sounds like a guy that definitely doesn't yet have kids.

"Enjoy it now. Because once you have kids, its going to all come down to planning again.

'When can I get that next run in? How long should I run? Should I run at all, today? Thank God that there is a shower room at work so I can take a run at lunch! Can I get a run in before my child's soccer game tomorrow? Maybe after...I have to get home asap, my wife needs a break. She's so nice to let me run almost all day today. I am one lucky guy.'"

If that time ever comes, when you have kids, getting out on a run, and just being able to concentrate on that next footstep on a technical trail for several hours will have even more precious meaning to you than it already does now.

Best wishes to you on all your adventures. Keep up the great writing, and keep up the great running. It's an inspiration.

Jill Homer said...

The wind was powerful, wasn't it? Above Sheep Creek, I saw a guy headed for Hawthorne. I warned him about the gusts and he said, "Taku winds are like medicine; they clear all the shit out." (That is really what he said ... strange that you said it, too.)

I am wondering if you and Dan are up on Observation right now. If you are, can you let me know what the conditions are like? I am very seriously thinking about Thursday. It's just another run for you, but reaching that peak would pretty much make my summer/fall.

Dave said...

I agree with Robert Blair - in that I guess I had a similar reaction!

I've been a runner for 31 years - and my best runs have always been when I just go and enjoy and don't worry about time or distance.

Yet, I ran my marathon PR right before my first child was born. I still do marathons and ultras - but have to plan a lot more now that I have 2 kids. But.. there's a time and place for everything. I'm glad I waited until age 33 to have kids - and glad I spend time with them now and sometimes pass up running.

boyd7 said...

I would love to see you run in Virginia. I ran MM several times in the 90's, lots of road, A good size elevation gain. A fun race. I think Grindstone would be the race for you. A little steeper and more trail.

Speedgoat Karl said...

I've been running the "organic" style for years and years. Not knowing how far I'm gonna go just about every day. It's running on "feel". Run what you like, not what's prescribed. And when you have that figured out, (like you do) it's all gravy.

Kids? Keep running, although having children may be rewarding, it's way too early for that. I'm gonna have kids when I'm 80, so I don't have to raise them, I'll just give them all my race winnings..yah, they'll be poor!

Go kill it at MMTR!

Yassine said...

Thanks Geoff for sharing your insight and experience. I feel that it is no coincidence that there is a correlation between your attitude and your success.

I have been trying to keep things very simple lately. As I got more into the ultra scene and more competitive I have tended to complicate things like you talked about in your great post "Running and Love".

I had to remind myself repeatedly in my last 100-miler (when I started having some issues) that it is not so much a race against others and getting the fastest possible time...but more about a spiritual connection with nature and people. Thanks again and I look forward to meeting you sometime! Peace :0)

Anonymous said...

Interesting how it went toward the "having kids" discussion. It's obvious when someone has the talent that you and Karl M. do, that kids will be potentially seen as "baggage". I'm not claiming that's the case, but look at some of the stuff that you and Karl have said and done...trekking as far as you can to rack up as many victories as you can. It's a lifestyle, and it doesn't combine well with raising young kids. The unfortunate (or fortunate) thing about life is, sometimes it's too late before you realize you can't have it all.

Anonymous said...

not to bend this further or to sound sour, as I agree with all the points displayed. Sometimes I wonder if some runners realize there is more to life than just running, particularly the minute, tiny running world that is ultras. I run a ton, but I also have other hobbies. It seems kind of disturbing that other things that could be equally rewarding that are not running related would be described as baggage..