Trail Running at its Best

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While teaching in Denver this weekend I took advantage of the opportunity to visit some old friends, some I haven’t seen since I left the area ten years ago. After spending most of my childhood in the Denver area, I moved to Boulder where I went to college and lived for the next 32 years. Needless to say my running roots here run deep.

I stayed with a friend in Boulder for a couple of days and was blessed to be able to run some of my favorite trails again. The familiar sights and the beauty of the foothills of the Rockies brought back many fond memories of the years I spent running and exploring the canyons and meadows with fellow runners. I realized that some of the most peaceful and deeply nourishing times of my life been spent while being immersed in Nature, and I’m eternally thankful for the lessons, insights and ideas that have come to me during my “running meditations.”

On the recommendation of a friend I went for a trail run in the hills just south of Boulder in the Eldorado Canyon area. I borrowed his bike to ride to the trail head, about three miles away. It was a nice way to warm up for the run. The first part of the run was a steady 3-mile climb which led me up to the base of some of the huge sandstone formations that Boulder is famous for. At the top of the ascent the trail turned north and meandered through meadows filled with Bee Balm flowers so thick that at times they completely obscured the trail. I could see Boulder way off in the distance and the Front Range mountains extended north like the spine of an endless dragon.

The best part of the run was when the trail abruptly spat me out into a breathtaking view of Eldorado Canyon…world-renowned for its thousand foot rock-climbing walls. I stopped dead in my tracks, totally awed by the immensity and striking beauty of what I was looking at, feeling that I could easily spend the rest of the day right where I was. I didn’t follow my impulse, but I did shift into a more effortless running gear as I left the spot. I spent the remainder of my run with my eyes wide open and running with the sense that I didn’t want to miss any part of the beauty that was being presented to me. And then the question came up in my mind…what would it be like if I were able to allow myself to experience every moment of every day with the same sense of wonder and awe that I was momentarily swept into?

We all get so caught up in the details of our everyday lives, that we need experiences like this to remind us of how blessed we are to partake in this thing called Life. I finished my run feeling a deep sense of well-being and gratitude and got back to the trail head to find my bike with a flat tire.

Just as I was beginning to feel jerked out of my bliss I spotted a man in the parking lot who had just finished a trail ride with his daughter. He gave me a lift back in to Boulder and I was once again reminded that all is well.


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