Running the Flat Stanley

I have just moved to Boulder, Colorado, a running mecca (so many awesome runners here, it is overwhelming), a world of stunning beauty. So much so I have to pinch myself daily that I Kelly ACTUALLY live here – sigh, double sigh. I feel like I have died and woken up in my heaven.

In Naples, Florida, where I have transplanted from I was a decent runner, I was a toppish middle packer and placed in local races. Here in Boulder, I am pretty much scraping the bottom of the barrel with my ability. First up I am old here, in Naples at 43 years I was a spring chicken, squawk, squawk!

People run trail, some people do road, but the passion is trail. I have started to take up trail running seriously and it is fabulous and challenging. I mean my legs actually have to go UP and my body has to scramble up from sea level to a mile high. Plus, I pant like a porn star on most of these runs, how to make friends and lose them – RAPIDLY. I have managed to meet some great women already in the mere 4 weeks I have been here and they are true trail sisters, sassy, cool and bad ass, gliding up and flying down, like the pros they are. I truly have had so much fun and I adore the change in pace, but my current training is to run a sub 3hr 20 minute marathon and then one day a sub 3 hr. , my blue sky 43 year old dreams… Call me crazy, but I truly think that after lacing back up at 40, these old bones can do it.

Since moving here, I cannot lie, I have relished the hills, but it has also made me realize how much I love road and flattish road at that. Where I can hit pace and sit there in comfort or edging pain as I chase it, maintain it, sit in it, man I love it. The rhymical, steady pounding of my feet, my breath in, and out, over and over again, no stopping, or scrambling, no worrying where my feet place, all I have to do is maintain pace or pick it up. I can relax in my flow, I can hum to nature, floating through, or dragging as my heart rate kicks up and my muscles become deprived of oxygen. Pain kicks in, I dig in, I struggle, I hurt, I embrace, I recover, I continue, I cycle through again and again. Ease, struggle, pain, recover. Nothing falters, nothing stops the movement, no rock to pick over, no gradient to navigate, just a forward ,steady continuum.

Tick tick tick, my brain falls quiet, muscles and breath engage and I fall in love all over again with running on the road. Trail running is cool and technical, road running is smooth, solitary, standoffish and sometimes, most of the time where my heart, mind and sanity feels at home.

I love the mountain – I need the road.

Love Flat Kelly

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