On the Trail: In the moment
September 19, 2006
Running has always been a punishment for me.Late for high school soccer practice and it’s “Agar, five laps!” I’d circle the field and curse the coach with every step.In my 20s I’d periodically buy myself a pair of running shoes and threaten everyone that I’d get into shape, but to really exercise, I’ve learned I have to kind of fool myself into it. Do something I enjoy. And running is something I don’t usually enjoy – until this weekend.Bode Miller was in town this week, and I had a chance to hear from him about his training regimen. He talked a lot about “hard-plate” weights and isometric exercise – sounded like torture. But one little tidbit piqued my curiosity.The Roaring Fork is low these days, and Bode and his training chums were out running the riverbed, skipping rock to rock for miles. Bode said it’s about developing agility when you’re at low levels of oxygen, but to me it just sounded like a hoot.On my day off I was in Glenwood Springs getting my capitalistic freak on at Target, loading up on the kind of stuff I seem to think I really need but don’t. Retail makes me antsy and existential.I’d planned to go up to Hanging Lake in Glenwood Canyon afterward but found myself caught up in the warranty details of a mini-vacuum and was shocked to look at my watch and see that it was 5 p.m. I had to meet someone in Aspen at 7.I don’t know whether it was my retail angst or the time crunch, but I drove to the Hanging Lake trailhead, grabbed a bottle of water, and started jogging lightly along the paved path to the steep trail.Next thing I know, I’m bounding up the hill, skipping rock to rock. Not thinking about my next shiny new purchase, or the future, or fitness, or if I should start a religion, or maybe open a car wash. Sweating, breathing heavy, but inspired. No coach cracking the whip. Just running up a mountain.I flew up the catwalk stone steps going up to the lake; took a peek; and ran down the steep slope, mogul-skiing the rocks and dodging the tourists.I made it to Aspen on time, and found a new way to play.