by Zoë Rom
It’s waking with sunlight more potent than the strongest coffee. It’s wearing the lightest, thinnest armour to face the morning. It’s running to nothing but the soundtrack of my own feet pounding into the dirt.
It’s at the core of what makes running so appealing- the idea that I only need myself, my shoes, and the mountains.
But, I have a knack for complicating things - convincing myself that i need this gear, or that training program. If I just do this, or buy that, I’ll be able to run farther, faster.
Simplicity isn’t just about the gear that weighs us down - it’s the mental clutter too.. I want to run unencumbered by negative thoughts, distractions, or unrealistic expectations. I want to lace up my shoes and go with no other goal in mind but to get as far away from my starting point as possible. Not a speed workout, or a tempo, or a long run.
While having goals and expectations can be a driving force in my running- they can also weigh heavy on my mind, just adding to the chaos in my head. My thoughts will flit from projects left unfinished at work to the errands and chores I’ve yet to do. Mental clutter can feel like running into a stiff headwind, uphill.
And then, I hit the trails - the lovely winding dirt that’s indifferent to my to-do list, the path that doesn’t exist on Strava, the mountain that dwarfs the nagging voice at the back of my head saying shouldn’t you be doing something else? Couldn’t you be training harder? I find solitude from the sensory overload of everyday life on a remote and winding path - the less PR friendly, the better.
Trails are for thinking and feeling in the moment, for running in the most exhilarating and impractical way possible. Trails are for shaking the cobwebs out of the furthest corners of my mind and banishing the clutter that crowds my head. Trails can replace unrealistic expectations with better intentions, replacing what I think a run should be with what it is.
I can surrender to the immediacy that trail demands, because it’s nearly impossible to think about working when I’m flying down scree and dodging trees. Trails demand and deserve my full attention. have to be light to travel this fast - there’s no room for anything non-essential - mental, or physical.
Simplicity of the mind. I will run as fast and as far from the clutter and chaos of daily life, shrugging off the shackles of stress and insecurity in what I have now, in this moment. I’m going to revel the the lightness of foot that comes from knowing what I can leave behind - the trappings of a culture that urges me to fill myself to the brim with stuff.
Simplicity. I’m going to lace up my shoes, find it, chase it, and surrender to it wholly when it finds me.