I started running in a major way a couple of years ago – a midlife crisis perhaps. I had run on and off since my 20s but never over 10km, and rarely over 5km. When I turned 38, something in me needed a marker I could strive for, and an activity I could call my own. I’m a working Mum, have 2 energetic and sweet girls (8 and 6) and am married to a man whose job is demanding and often takes him away from the home. So – I started road running, set a goal to run my first half marathon, and somewhere along the way I became hooked. Three half marathons, a 10km race, and the City2Surf later and have just completed my first Ultra Marathon (The UltraTrail Australia 50km).
My husband loves the bush and after much encouragement, I turned to running on the bush trails around our home in the Blue Mountains. From my first run on the trails, I wondered why I had been running on the road for so long! We are so spoilt in the Blue Mountains with local trails that are secluded, peaceful, and have stunning vistas. I recently headed out on a 3 ½ hour training run from Scenic World with a mud map from my husband and a few vague directions to guide me. Somewhere I went wrong, became lost, had to retrace my steps until I had enough mobile reception to call him and get new directions. I was a mess. Sobbing tears, asthma kicking in, feeling like a failure, and wondering why I had thought I had the capability to go adventuring in the bush on my own. But he buoyed me up and set me on my way again – I found the right track on my second attempt and had an amazing few hours exploring new parts of our Mountains that I hadn’t seen before.
There are a few things I love about endurance trail running – including how relatable some of the lessons I learn out on the trail are to life, and mothering. I was contemplating this on my this recent long run and here are some of my musings:
~ Moments on the trail, and in life, can be hard. Right??! Some days leave you an emotional mess. Sometimes it all feels like a steep uphill climb that never ends. But in those moments, if you dig deep and take a deep breath – you can often find a new place of strength in your soul that you didn’t know existed.
~ It can feel isolated out on the trail. And so can life as a mother. But often all we need to do is raise our hand as needing help – cry out to our dearest friend – off -load a tear or two – and we find a person who is cheering us on and helps us find an extra douse of courage to get back onto the ‘track’ and give it another go.
~ Sometimes you can feel like you’ve taken a wrong turn, made a wrong decision, feel like you’re in over your head. We all have those moments. But most of the time – you can find a new direction, back track and re-evaluate, and find the right way. Rarely is the wrong turn a disaster.
~ Injuries can happen! And it’s ok to take some time out to look after yourself, lick your wounds, spend time healing before getting back out onto the track again for a second try (or third or fourth as the case may be!).
Trail running might not be your thing, but grab the family today and head out to your local trails for a walk –you never know what truths you’ll find out there!