My first post for them was about how much I enjoy fall runs. Here's the post:
Loamy Fall Runs
Fall has always been my favourite time of year for running. I started my running addiction at high school cross-country meets and extended those experiences to university. I continue to run daily; more often than not I head out twice a day, building on the foundation of those early fall runs.
I remember my first group workouts, which could better be described as “hammerfests”, where pacing got tossed out the window and beating your teammates into the ground was the sole objective. This same strategy extended to our races, where we would go out at a suicidal pace and try to hang on for as long as possible. Success came down to those who slowed down least.
I started running wearing baggy soccer shorts, tennis, or basketball shoes and cotton t-shirts, however over the course of that first season, my shorts became shorter, my t-shirts turned to singlets and I started the long process of callousing my feet with blisters earned from wearing spikes that were two sizes too big.
Although the workouts and races were fun, I always enjoyed our long group runs the most. We would meet up after class, on Thursday afternoon, jump on a bus and drive out to a Provincial park about 20 minutes away. It always felt like we were heading off on an adventure. Our runs only lasted 45 or 60 minutes, but I remember finishing them feeling exhausted and satisfied. It’s hard work building a base, but even then we understood that running rewards hard work and the more we did, the better we would become. Inevitably, we would run too hard. We would also joke around during the runs, playing pranks on each other, which mostly involved trying to “pants” each other (pull each other's shorts down), which to a 14 year old boy is probably the funniest thing you can do, or trying to plan ambushes to catch the girls group off-guard, which is the second funniest thing to do.
On top of the camaraderie and physical effort of those outings, I also remember the crisp, clear, cold fall air, the rich tapestry of colours of the leaves carpeting the trail and the dappled light that would pierce through the thinning foliage. What I remember most though is how soft the ground was underfoot. The rich, organic, loamy surface felt bouncy, cushioning our stride, allowing us to run harder and longer. It smelled like nature should. I liked the strength required to run up and over hills, the unpredictability of the footfall on the rocky, rooty surface and being able to splash through the odd puddle that would pool on the trail’s surface.
Last Sunday, as I did a mountain run up at Whistler, I couldn’t help but think how little has changed. My gear has gotten more technical, my runs are longer and I no longer try to pants and ambush my running partners as often, but the essence of what I love about fall running is the same. I love being outside as the seasons transition, running along a soft surface, smelling the crisp, peaty air and feeling it coat my lungs, chatting with a group of like minded friends. We share a lot of intimate and inane details with the trail, but mostly we enjoy the simple act of running. I don’t think that will ever change.
On the video front, Canadian alpinist & cover boy, Jason Kruk
has posted a video (part I) of a great adventure he had over at Mt Waddington with Arc designer, Tony Richardson (yes, people who work there go after it hard). It's worth a watch for some weekend inspiration: