Footfall

IMG_1984There are some trails nearby, so I tried running them today. Most of my life I’ve been a mountain biker, and before that I spent most of my time in the woods, so the environment was familiar, even though it was my first time on these trails. I was expecting running to be significantly different from riding, but I didn’t anticipate how. The biggest difference is you have to pay much closer attention to every spot where your feet will fall. On a bike you can (and must) look further ahead, as you trust the fork to take care of the roots and rocks in all but the most technical situations. But running is all about where each foot lands. The forward movement doesn’t really happen while you’re contacting the ground—it’s above it, in strides. In the course of three miles I rolled my left ankle twice, my right once, and almost stumbled going up a hill. Each time I had taken my focus off the trail.

Nevertheless, it’s a more enjoyable experience than running on a road. The earth is softer, so it feels less jarring. And I especially like the constant lateral movement and adjustments required as you go. It felt like a more balanced approach, albeit more difficult than going in a straight line.

I had forgotten how much I love the feel of the woods, especially the smell. I am planning on getting another mountain bike, but it will be a while before I can save up for the one I want. In the meantime I will try my hand at this.

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