Sunday, November 15, 2009

“Mommy, why are those people running?” (overhead while on the Shut-In Trail this past Saturday during Adam Hill’s adventure run: Bent Creek Gobbler)

The gang: Too many folks to recognize, yet among this crowd are the most skilled trail runners and amazing human beings on this planet!

The title of this post was inspired during Saturday’s Bent Creek Gobbler, a 15-31 mile adventure run in Pisgah National Forest. Somewhere around 31 people showed up to celebrate November on the leaf covered trails and dirt roads and to experience camaraderie without competition.

Somewhere around mile 8 of my run-I was sharing companionship with Drew Shelfer and Doug Blackford. The 3 of us passed a young family who stepped off the trail to let us by. As we passed, the little girl, all dressed in pink asked, “Mommy, why are those people running?”

Doug waved at mom and daughter and with a smiling voice responded, “good question.”

This prompted a discussion. Drew’s initial reaction was “so I can eat more”, (With a new baby in the family, Drew has discovered smoking as a new "at home" adventure. (Let me clarify: meat smoking-not weed or ciggis). Doug’s was because he can and because he sleeps better, my initial thought this day was “because I can and nothing else works as good”. Our conversation was lighthearted, yet still a bit philosophical… As I made a pit stop and the guys went along ahead, I continued to think of the girl in pink and her question. I also run because it is freeing and fun and I can fly while running. I have articulated this aloud before and know it is still true today….

So, I wonder, what brought 30+ runners together to run on the trails of Bent Creek? Some drove 15 minutes, others for 3 hours! We come from different places, have our reasons, yet still become kindred spirits in the joy of flying on our feet in the woods…Something to ponder miles 19-25 of a 28 mile solo training run!

On Saturday, some runners covered 30 miles, others of us went for a bit less. I choose to go an easy 20-at least a “easy” as one can running on this part of the Mountains to Sea Trail. I had a wonderful time-running, taking pictures, catching up with folks I haven’t been around since this time last year. I did have to slow down quite a bit after 13 miles as my legs are still feeling the residue from a combination of last weekend’s Mountain Masochist and Wednesday’s intervals. I am well reminded to “back off” in volume until JFK 50 next weekend.

I rode down from the High Country with a new running friend, Gail Leedy. Gail at mile 15ish of her 20ish mile adventure

Gail is a recent transplant to Boone from Wyoming. Gail and I met last month at Dark Mountain Challenge trail runs. I was drawn to her by her Miwok 100k shirt. We saw each other a few weeks later at Ridge to Bridge Marathon and again chatted. Gail was excellent company for the 2.5 hour drive. It was neat to hear a little about her world and experiences out west. I expect she and I will share in other adventures as the months unfold!

Martha Culter and Rick Grey, above. Martha was thrilled she wasn't "last"!

Above is Beth Minnick in her post-run /soak-in-creek duds: vibram toe shoes, Wells-Fargo blanket, Grindstone 100 hoodie, seriously cool shades, sporting a fig bar and black 'n tan.What else is more classicly awesome? (I am photographed with her to verify she is real and not a trail illusion!)

Saturday’s run was a fun treat! The whole weekend, really. It has been unseasonable warm-10-15 above average mid November temps for the NC high country. Today I ran 10 miles-not for training-just because it was beautiful and warm and because I could! I divided the miles into 2 runs, dealing with hanging and taking down laundry in the interim. (Yes! Warm enough to dry clothes on the line!)

This is our clothesline this afternoon...What a weekend! Trail clothes drying on the line mid-November...This weekend's weather was amazing!

Mama Grey loved the weekend sun too! She is resting up for a "night on the town", cat style! I ask, Why do you run????????


brint said...

Always a great philosophical question. For me, it has always been about longevity and quality of life. I know I will live many more years due to a lifetime of exercise, mostly extreme.
Good luck and have a great run at JFK. I will be cheering on my sons, Bob and Brad, who are also running it. If they have a good day, both have a chance to finish very high in the standings.

Rick Gray said...

Why do I run? The way it makes me feel, the benefits my body receives and most of all the social aspects. It is friends like you that give me anticipation to step out the door. What a great Saturday at the Gobbler. I had a great time and I am already looking forward to our next adventure. Good luck at JFK this weekend. Rick

Rick Gray said...

I forgot to make one comment that can't go unsaid. Beth's outfit is for real. It was even better in person. All of the fancy designers better take note. Is the latest in fashion going to be the "Minnick Line"? Rick

JJ Jessee said...

Why Run? The health benefits are the most obvious and thats why I started. But there is something deeper inside us that causes us to run that can't be totally explained by the endorphins and the precieved health benefits. Someone has conjectured that humans "became humans" through the act of running. In that frame of thought, running is about hunting (or escaping), hunting is about eating. So saying "I run to eat" really taps into a very ancient truth. But the social aspect is also critical and ancient. Hunters were most successful it seems as a cooperative tribe. If memory serve, I think the term "covenant" comes from a ancient Chaldean root word for "cutting meat with", or a representation of who will share in the kill. Thus the social, the eating, and the sustaining of health all have deep roots in the evolution of humankind with running as the simple expression of "being on the path". When you are on the path, there is joy.

Anonymous said...

I started running to improve my health. I was 40 years old and extremely overweight with a heart rate that was usually above 100 (and that’s while I was sitting at my desk!) In the beginning I could only run for 30 seconds at a time. But then came the day I ran a mile without having to stop. I remember thinking that this must be how Lance Armstrong feels, at the time he was the only endurance athlete that knew of. From that day I have continued to push, just to see how far I can go. Some days I fail but most of the time I make it. It’s rarely fast or pretty, but I make it.

Now I run not just for my health but to be out in this beautiful world. I have long conversations with God about the joys and stresses in life. I also love sharing those beautiful days with my friends who appreciate the gift of running as much as I do.

I also must admit that I get a thrill when I look at Bays Mountain from my office window and think, “Wow, I ran along the top of that mountain ridge yesterday! How cool is that!!”

Thanks for inviting us to share!

Donna Bays

jenn said...

awesome post annette! It looks like you guys had SO much fun this weekend! I run because it really gives me some sort of contentment and fulfillment that I really can't explain.. while I strive to improve, the act of running itself really makes me a happier person. I feel very acutely aware of being alive when I run. :o)
Also, I love the social aspects of running.

I also love rick, jj and donna bays because they are all AWESOME people and I'm very lucky to have them for friends!! :o)

eminnick said...

I run so I can express myself thru various types of outrageous clothing and people will think it looks awesome because they are all hopped up on endorpins ;) they also don't question why I carry a magic wand in my duffle, wear skullbie stickers, and sit in creeks/rivers in the middle of winter. love me some crazy runners :)

Rick Gray said...

Funny how everyone comes back to the social aspects of our running lives. To be touched by Beth's magic wand (her wand makes noises too) to listening to Annette laughing about and with Beth's outrageous clothes. I for one appreciate all of my dear friends! Rick

annette bednosky said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing-I can relate to what all of you say...ultrarunning is such a solitary sport so much of the time-so therefore, when there is time to be with other runners -getting real and being goofy is a great joy and relief. I already like Beth's magic wand a whole lot!

Anonymous said...

I run because I can't fly.
I run because I can.
I run because it's fun.
I run because it burns calories and keeps me limber.
I run because it's a high.

Also, read the book by Bernd Heinrich: Why We Run: a natural history (alt. title- Racing the Antelope: what animals can teach us about running and life)

annette bednosky said...

I really like this last post. You sound like a kindred spirit. I will check out the book...thank you for sharing!

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