No matter where I am going, I always travel with my running shoes. Sometimes they are my road shoes and other times they are my trail runners, but regardless, they come with me every time I pack a suitcase.
This weekend was no exception, and when I packed my carry-on suitcase for a quick weekend trip to Flagstaff, Arizona, I made the extra space and threw in a running outfit and my my Mizuno Wave Riders. Will and I were heading south for a 48-hour trip for a family graduation, and while I wasn’t sure I’d find the time to explore on foot, I wanted to be prepared in case I did!
Friday and Saturday passed in a blur of graduation festivities and I could barely keep my eyes open until 9pm on Saturday night. However, when we crawled into bed at 9:15, I knew Sunday was my target morning for a decent adventure run. After all, I could still wake up at 6:30 and get PLENTY of sleep for the day!
Sure enough, I awoke Sunday morning and while the rest of the house continued to sleep, I quietly put on my running clothes, tied my shoelaces, and snuck out the back door. We were staying in a cabin in the woods, so I slightly regretted my decision to bring my road runners, but knew that I didn’t have an alternative. I walked around the cabin until I found a dirt road that looked appealing, and put one foot in front of the other. I just ran.
My favorite thing about running while traveling is the sense of exploration that comes from seeing things on two feet. You can fit into places that cars cannot, and if you’re me, you run at such a slow pace that you are able to take absolutely everything in. I noticed myself gasping for air a bit more than usual, but I wasn’t sure if that was an acknowledgement of my lack-of-running condition or the decidedly higher-than-Denver 7,500 feet in elevation. Regardless, I had to slow my roll and simply run for the enjoyment of the sport.
The dirt road eventually came to a paved highway and for a few seconds, I couldn’t decide where to go. Fortunately, I caught a glimpse of a trailhead sign across the road and hidden in some trees, so I jogged over to check it out. Lo and behold, I had stumbled on an entire network of deserted trails! I didn’t have a ton of time before I needed to be back for the festivities, but I was psyched to find such a pretty area to explore.
The singletrack was tame and relatively free of obstacles. I was able to run while looking at my surroundings and didn’t fret about smashing my face into the dirt. The air was oddly brisk but aside from the wind, I couldn’t tell that a brief snowstorm was headed my way. The trees were quiet, animals were nonexistent, and I was the only soul on the trail.
Is there any better way to start the day?