I have a love-hate relationship with trail running. I would be cursing at myself, but right after the race I would be hunting for the next trail run. Perhaps it was stemmed by my first trail run (Mardi MAEPS Trail Run) in 2014 which was a total blunder. No trail shoes, no hydration pack, socks that were not suitable…what was I even thinking back then?!
Yet, it was so addictive. There is something about being in nature, a change of scenery from the concrete jungle that drew me back to off-road races. Unfazed by the bad experience, I signed up again for FRIM Forest Trail Run at the end of 2014. I settled for only 9km, but I vowed that I will be back in 2015 to take on the 16km category. So here I am again, in FRIM Forest Trail Run 2015, to fulfill the promise that I made to myself, hopefully better, faster, and stronger than last year.
Another reason why I was continuously drawn to trail running was because it can be a humbling experience. I felt like the most confident runner in the world. But then it rained heavily the night before. The ground was soft and slippery, with loose stones and gravels scattered along the route. I lost count how many times I tripped. It sounded like a minor problem, but multiply the tripping several times you will end up losing precious minutes, not to mention very painful ankle joints tomorrow.
Trail running can also be very challenging, yet rewarding too. You are transported to a totally different world, it feels like a mini-vacation. The steep, uphill climb that you have to endure? A very beautiful view awaits at the top. The route is long, and sometimes lonely. You can walk for miles, and not bump into a single soul. You leave it all to your instincts and the sign boards. But the sound of birds chirping, leaves rustling, and rushing water from the river will always accompany you. Plus, isn’t the main reason to sign up for trail runs was to enjoy the sights and sounds that nature has to offer?
I don’t think this love-hate relationship with trail running will go away any time soon. Trail running is here to stay for me, and I look forward to more adventures off-road in the future.
Until next week,
The Weekend Runner.