I am lucky to have people around me who ask the big questions, the tough questions. Its been a looonng couple months as I slooowwwly come back from an Achilles Tendonitis injury. Through it all I’ve had a couple of my healing friends ask questions like, ‘why do you run?’ ‘why are you so attached to running?’ ‘what is the difference between running Laura and not running Laura?’ and now the questions are moving toward ‘do you know why you are so hard on yourself?’ ‘are you able to release your high expectations for yourself?’
I’ve been able to use my extra time for more meditation, yoga and stillness. It turns out my body likes stillness, my mind and heart—not so much! Running has always been my meditation, my zen time on the trails. As a trail runner you have to stay in the moment, you let your mind wander and boom you are flat on your face! Yes, I have time to process, find things a little clearer but its all about disconnecting and reconnecting. Connecting to myself, to my breath and to my natural surroundings. Running is a tool in my tool box that I use for so many different things, maybe for too many tasks. Running helps me feel grounded, it perks me up when I’m down and calms me when I’m anxious, it helps me feel confident and strong but also small and insignificant in a big world. If there is a question, running is usually the answer.
Through disconnecting from running I’ve been able to reconnect to my ‘why’. In listening to Billy Yang podcast with Rob Krar, I was able to connect when Rob said, to paraphrase, ‘its not about the running. Its about challenging my body and my mind in nature.’ It is true and something I was already coming around to determining myself. Running on the treadmill does nothing for me. I am more excited for a fastpacking trip to Mt. Assinaboine than I am about an upcoming Ultra. There is not much stoke for racing right now but maybe it will come back. For now, I daydream about a R2R2R adventure or linking up some alpine loops. Also, I guess, it doesn’t have to be running, it could be biking, hiking or something else. I still identify and find the most joy in running, it gets me farther out than hiking and I’ve got a little more control on the corners with airplane arms than on a bike. That said, my summer goal is to learn how to mountain bike.
As for my high expectations and self-imposed judgement, it is an area that is a huge work in progress. As an ambassador of this sport and living a limitless lifestyle, I place a very high expectation on myself to uphold a positive, adventurous and purposeful life. I know in my head no one is on one hundred percent of the time. Sometimes being real and raw is the better way to go in this Instagram filtered society. I do my best to be a good example for my children and my community. I work to connect children to that feeling of challenging themselves in a natural environment. I will continue to delve into why I value running Laura more than the non-running one.
In the meantime, I’ve reclaimed some limited, flat-ish trail time, and can now hike out the crazies. I am looking forward to continuing to build on my reconnection to running and to self as the weather warms and I prepare myself for my only big race of the summer. Fingers crossed that my Achilles and my mind hold as I build up for Sinister 7-Leg 3, a 31.4K and 1357m sizzling run in the Crowsnest Pass!
Written by: Laura Spruyt
Featured Photo by: Hilary Ann