If you have had the pleasure of trail running then you may understand where I am coming from. For me trail running in analogous to live in general and the everyday living. Trail running like life takes you on many paths. And like life trails connect to other trails and lead to many other trails, networking. Sometimes these trails will lead you back to a trail on which you have already been on. In addition, trails like the paths of life are typically undulating in nature with some flat, some downhill and some uphill. The degrees of undulation vary from trail to trail, path to path.
Now trail running is by far a challenging experience. One does not typically just go out and run any trail nor does one just go on any path. Typically we do some form of preparation before embarking on trail running, such as running on flat surfaces and building a solid foundation before hitting the trails. Just like any path in life, the choice to run trails is a choice to challenge yourself on a whole new level. After all, as a person who is running I could have chosen to just run the streets and flats, this is not to diminish those who do but there is a certain personality type that is attracted to trail running as there is in any thing in life.
I have chosen to run trails for various reasons and the challenge, physical and mental is so appealing that I have once again found myself spending 3 days a week in the hills running trails. In a sense I have come full circle, because about 4 years ago I stopped adventure racing and with it trail running instead focusing on Kettlebells (which I still do 3 days a week...love them).
When I used to run I would say I did so more with an ego, and a limited knowledge base or foundation in some sense. I never achieved what I could have and never truly understood or at least practiced to my best abilities. I would say I did not prepare nor practice/train smart. Now, I attribute todays approach and subsequent success with a greater understanding of life, myself, training, preparation, the analogy of life and the paths we take, and the past 4 years of learning. Safe to say the path I travelled has helped prepare me to be at my best as of today and with room for so much more.
The greater flexibility in my mind, body, soul and life combined with a greater level of consciousness and a deeper understanding of training and practice has lead me to new trails and new paths the likes which I have never experienced.
So, today as I ran I paid close attention to how my gate, my pace and my mind changed as the terrain and pathways changed before my eyes. When I came to long hills with steep inclines I looked up and noticed where the 'top' was but kept telling myself that 'now with this perspective remember that it is one step at a time, left, right, left right and so on. No matter how long or steep if you take it one step at a time and remember to take it slow and steady not only will you get to the top but you will be able to appreciate what it took to get there and what it takes to continue moving forward on too other trails and other climbs which may indeed be steeper and longer.'
Not focusing on finishing or how hard the was, or how steep the hills are or what was yet to come and instead focusing on taking it all in, one step at a time and truly being present and enjoying, not judging my performance more just observing it all truly enabled me to handle all the 'obstacles' or at least so called obstacles with a calm mind and strong body.
So often we focus on the end result, the outcome and become attached to this outcome and in the process judge and evaluate not only ourselves but others, that we forget about the journey, the process, the paths and things we overcame, that got us to this point. SO much goes into making things happen, bringing it all together that we must remember to appreciate all the little things that make up the big thing, whatever it is.
I am grateful for all the stuff that has helped me to get to this point, this path to be on this trail and I see the endless network of trails that lie ahead. I believe all of this will help prepare me for anything in life.
Life is full of trails with varying degrees of undulation or as someone might say difficulty. Remember to take one step at a time and stop to smell the flowers, listen to the birds, observe the sun and moon and clouds, etc. Enjoy it all and take it all in.