-- Dean Karnazes
One of the things I love about trail running is the peace and solitude. The stress and frustration from a bad day at work just melt away on the trail, seemingly exiting my body through the sweat from my pores and the carbon dioxide from my lungs.
My daughter performed in a hula competition during a recent weekend in Sacramento. I missed Saturday, while doing my long-run, and joined them on Sunday. My wife mentioned to the other parents that I was doing my long-run on Saturday and the “18 mile” distance came up in the conversation. They asked what I was training for and she explained, “Nothing…he just does it.”
I’ve been running off and on for the last 30 years (since I was an infant), but it wasn’t until last year that I really ramped up and started running year-round. I volunteered (sort of) to pace a friend in last year’s Leadville 100, trained hard to get into shape quickly, and just kept the running program going after the race was over. Now, with no special race in mind, I “just do it” because it’s fun and relaxing.
Interestingly enough, while on my 18 mile run, I bumped into another runner on the trail and we chatted a bit. He asked if I was training for a marathon or something and I mentioned I was just running for fun (don’t people run 18 miles for fun?). I explained that I enjoy self-supported, fun runs because organized races are expensive and I don’t need more t-shirts (just ask my wife) – and I get to visit cool locations that I’m interested in seeing, the scheduling is totally flexible (and can be rescheduled in the event of injury, etc.), and it’s free.
My friend Faye and I have a few fun runs scheduled this year. We’re running Desolation Wilderness next week, near Lake Tahoe. Our original plan was to run in Yosemite National Park, but we changed the venue due to a forest fire in the area. We also canceled a Yosemite run last year due to a forest fire, so the fire gods must be mad at us – or perhaps it’s because California’s in the middle of a multi-year drought and the summers have been extraordinarily hot. I’m also planning a Lake Del Valle to Sunol Regional Park run, traversing 20 miles along the Ohlone Wilderness Trail. There may also be another run later in the fall (I can always be “convinced” to do something fun).
Here are a few more photos from the Pleasanton Ridge trails.
Sheep grazing and enjoying the peaceful day (at least until I ran upon them, causing them to scatter off the trail). I tried counting them, but I fell asleep...
Chris dashing through the oaks.
Chris running off into the distance.