Lately I’ve been thinking about terms like skyrunning and mountain running, in part because I wrote about it, but mostly because I’ve been doing it. Traveling to Europe a few weeks ago –for immense pleasure, and also to work on a book project– I had a choice. I was either going to stop and wait until I could get back on the Alter-G treadmill and the forgiving beach sand of Los Angeles, some time in June. Or I was going to take the leap and run where ever I would be.
That latter approach has been mine since I began running in 2006. But my injuries had made me a bit wary and perhaps overly careful. I didn’t –don’t– want to mess up my knee/foot/back again. I’d only been running for real for a few months, still gently and with some hesitation. But even though I felt uncertain I did pack my new Nike trial shoes, my beloved Mountain Hardwear running backpack to hold water and essentials, and my running clothes. Clearly I sort of knew what to do.
Then I did it. First in the French Provence, then in the Norwegian town of Bergen, and now in the north-west of Italy. The trails call out to me. When I do a little road running my body protests: knees feel weak, calves feel tight. But when I get on the rocky trails like this morning, my body is happy and free. Running as lightly as I can I try to float. I jump over boulders, climb up steep hills, fly down hillsides. I say hello to the cows, laugh about the scrapes on my legs, and admire the Mediterranean below in the distance – azure indeed. This is mountain running, I realize. Skyrunning.
PS The blog of my New York running club, the Flyers, posted an abridged version of my book’s Afterword. A little teaser before the imminent publication of The Running Dutchman.