When I run my brain has similarities to a petulant four year old. If it has new things to look at (roots, rocks, new scenery) it’s distracted and happy. When it runs the same trails over and over not only does boredom set in begetting whining of “are we there yet, why are we doing this, this sucks, etc” but it also allows me to stay hyper-focused on all of the things that I am trying to escape from, which is counterproductive.
A couple of weeks ago I saw that a local mountain biking group had been working on expanding a trail system in a local park (completely sanctioned) that previously had no trails in it. Oh shiny! After beating STATA into submission and working on a paper with those statistics for nearly 12 hours straight on Easter and another 6-8 hours in the last two days my poor brain needed a break. Charlotte and I headed to the new trails.
The great thing about running new trails is that your brain absolutely cannot focus on anything other than the next 4-6 feet in front of you. It can’t focus on anything else (finals, papers, projects, internships, you know, life things) and there are some days that that is exactly what you need. Even Charlotte seemed happy that we were running some place with new smells and new puddles to play in. I guess baby dogs get bored too.
We wound up running several miles of trails both within the park bounds and some of the bootleg 4 wheeler trails that follow the high tension lines. Honestly, I don’t know why they just don’t turn it into green space like they do out West, but that’s a fight for another day. The best part was, though, there was not a single solitary thought that went through my head other than what was on the ground 4-6 feet in front of me. Ok, ok, I’ll admit it this was also kind of a problem as by the time we got back to the car I had to take my inhaler (thanks pollen count), but mentally I felt so much better. Both of our moods had improved remarkably.
I’m interested in exploring this new network of trails to see just how many miles I can now rack up. Shiny!