What I love most, though, is running hiking trails in mountains. This fascination began in college in the Adirondacks. Oftentimes, there is little in the way of running going on as you face traverses, scrambling and near vertical climbs, and fields of boulders. The idea is to move quickly, efficiently and safely across these environments. And while standard runners may not like the disruption in running, you can experience natural human full-body movement patterns. Scrambling, climbing, jumping, are movements ingrained in our ancestral instincts, but not experienced in our suburban 5K loop.
We had the chance last weekend to get over to the White mountains again, where I hope to take a stab at running the Presidental range traverse later in the summer. My friend Kevin and I scoped out one of the ascents to the traverse that the current record holder took, the Daniel Webster Scout trail. Running here is a relative term. The trail ascends over extremely rocky and rooty terrain for 4100' in 4 miles before hitting Mount Madison, the first in the north-south presidential traverse.
We had near perfect conditions on this trip, and I can only hope to have something similar when I return in 1-2 months. Like always, a trip to the mountains lends to spiritual growth and mental decompression through meditation in movement and mindfulness in the simplicity physical challenge.
That experience doesn't always have to come from a big mountain range; if that mountain is a hill in your small city or a dirt path along a chain-link fence, try running on a more natural surface!