We hit the trails today at 10am.
Looking at the other runners doing their stretches, I felt intimidated. They were all tanned and muscular, kitted out in the latest running gear, while there I was dressed in a grey worn out tank top, borrowed from The Husband.
‘I haven’t run in ages…’ I said to The Grouch.
‘It’s easy,’ he encouraged me. ‘It’s all about keeping on, through the tiredness, don’t walk, just keep lifting those knees.’
Right. Easy. I didn’t for one moment believe him.
We set off on an easy brick road that wound around the waters, dodging walkers, serious runners and sweaty humans who’d just finished something intense and were cooling off. Within a few minutes, we entered a canopy of trees. This was where it all began.
We jogged uphill, trying not to slip on the muddy ground, whilst avoiding the roots, rocks and random insects, lizards and monkeys. It was painful going up and down… and within 15 minutes, I was spent.
‘How long is this trail again?’ I panted.
‘Don’t know. But don’t worry, you won’t feel it because really, it’s easy,’ he answered.
I huffed and puffed in reply.
‘Hey… you run as though it’s really difficult…’ he looked over at me.
‘It is, darn it!’ I managed to reply. ‘But I love it.’
And I did. Nothing compares to running in the woods. It was sheer exhilaration, looking at the trees we passed by, crossing wooden bridges, climbing portions that were too tough to run through… My legs were burning but inside, I felt like I was flying.
‘You see that dark patch in front?’ The Grouch pointed out to me. ‘It means… that we’ve finished the first bit of this trail.’
Gee, thanks. I thought he was going to say we were ending. Far from it, we were barely near the mid-point and I already wanted to crawl home.
We took a break 20 minutes later at the highest point of the trail to drink some water and stretch a little. I stood looking out over the top of the trees and breathed in deep.
‘The oxygen levels here are great,’ he said. ‘Although I find the trail boring.’
‘What?’ I turned to look at him. ‘You find this gorgeous trail… boring?! It’s beautiful!’
‘Gah… it’s just trees, trees and more trees. What’s interesting?’ he answered before starting to jog again. I did my best to keep up behind him as we entered the woods again, only to find ourselves by the roadside.
‘Shit,’ he muttered, ‘I think we took a wrong turn.’
I glared at him, but he didn’t see any of it as he took off running. We found another entry back into the woods and continued our course, dodging fresh runners, tourists and student groups… which signaled that we were back on track.
About 100 minutes later, we were done.
‘Hey… why did you ask me to run with you? When you obviously can run faster than me?’ I asked The Grouch.
‘Well, I haven’t run much this year and if I run with another guy, I got to keep up. With a girl, I’ll be faster and can feel good about myself,’ he laughed in reply.
I threw my sweaty towel at him.
But I am indebted, because through him, I have finally experienced a match made in heaven – a beautiful trail.
Slow, challenging and utterly addictive, I am heading back for more.
I’m now deeply in love and have decided to take this new relationship to the next level. I’m getting myself some nice running outfits.