People are always surprised to find out that I'm a regular churchgoer (well, as regular as I get). First, I'm a scientist. Second, I'm politically liberal. Third, I'm irreverent about just about everything. That's not the description most people give churchgoers: liberal scientific jokesters.
Everyone is surprised that my favorite season is Lent. Maybe it's my contrarian nature. Most people don't understand the season and think of it as a dark, gloomy period when people give up something as if it were a New Year's resolution. I'm going to try to explain the season and how it actually applies to trail running. I'm writing this three weeks beforehand, because one really needs to ease into the season.
The whole idea is: something big's coming! It might be great, it might be awful, but it's big and you'd better be ready, so make some space in your life.
Most people's lives are cluttered with too much stuff. This is the season to clear out whatever you don't need and give it to someone who could use it. Then give just a bit more; anyone can give from their excess, but charity begins when you make a sacrifice and become just a bit uncomfortable. In these times when people are worried about finances, it's good to discover just how rich one really is.
This is the time to clear out your mind from all distractions as well. It's a time to be quiet and meditate. Eat and drink a little less, so you appreciate it more. Sleep a little less, so you appreciate it more. Talk less, fool around less, focus on what's important and remember that you're not all-important.
When you go running during Lent, don't bring headphones, a phone or even a watch. Just be part of the scenery, no more important than the mud puddle you step in and only a little more permanent. Don't fill your pockets with food or carry a water bottle; you can live without them. Enjoy the silence; if you run with others, say as little as possible, just enjoy their presence. If the weather turns bad, just accept it and finish the run you planned instead of cutting it short.
During Lent, this blog is going to be a little different. Far less random silliness will fill the screen and I hope to write things that might actually help people. Failing that, I'll just give the simple facts of my training runs. Then it'll probably be back to usual after Easter.
Something big's coming! Are you excited yet? Maybe a little run on the trails will get you ready.
Aid Station: Eugene Curnow
2 days ago