Trail running is an art, and I love it for many reasons.
It is endlessly distracting. Nothing says monotony like pounding the pavement mile after mile, week after week, year after year. Sometimes looking at a long stretch of asphalt makes me want poke my eye balls out, but put me on some trails surrounded by dirt, trees, leaves, and lakes and I might just squeal with delight. If variety is this spice of life, trail running is sage to my soul.
Atmosphere is not the only glorious distraction trail running offers, it distracts in other ways too. Miles seem to fly right by. I’m much less likely to think “how much further” when I’m trying not to die…
or twist an ankle…
or break a bone.
I introduced a friend to trail running. For years we have pounded the dirt, hopped over roots, splashed in the mud, and zigzagged delightfully through the forest without incident. She’s been doing a lot more running on the road these days, and while she’s been running on the straight and narrow she’s taken a tumble a time or two.
This morning, with the rhythm of my own soles patting the pavement beneath me, I thought of how ironic it is that she’s having such difficulty keeping the rubber on the road. It is much more likely to take a spill on the uneven, the unpaved, and the unkempt.
It made me think of how often I stumbled spiritually on the straightaways. I get careless running the race God’s set out for me.
Maybe, in my pride, I think I’ve got it all under control.
Maybe I get lazy.
Maybe I get bored.
All I know is that, sometimes, I can get tripped up in the most unlikely of places. How thankful I am for when my spiritual journey takes me on some trails! They may seem treacherous, but they certainly keep me on my toes.
They keep me alert.
They keep me cautious.
They keep me humble.
You never know on what type of course God’s race will lead, but my prayer is that we run it well, that we stay upright, and if we do take a tumble, we get back up and run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” (Hebrews 12:1)