I found myself thinking when out for a run the other day that it was quite strange that, with all the extra trail I’ve been on recently, I haven’t fallen over. Stacking it is surely as much a part of running trails as getting muddy and wet is and yet, as of that exact moment I hadn’t experienced the misfortune. I considered, briefly, that perhaps my balance was too refined, too cat like, for me to truly stack it, but this moment passed quickly when I thought about my general clumsiness in everyday life; every slightly jutting surface in the my house which I’ve bumped into, the teeny tiny raise on the threshold of the door to my bedroom which I’ve tripped on multiple times, no, no, it isn’t in the capacity of my feet to always move in a straight line, clearly it was only a matter of time.
And I was right.
There’s been a lot of mud in my life, and I may have assumed that it would be this which would lead to my downfall but no, despite being on the muddiest of muddy runs it was the real enemy of runners worldwide which took my down: the stump. A perfect little cylinder of bark poking up from the muddy ground, camouflaged from afar, the ideal height to catch a foot in mid flight. And catch me it did. Considering how grim the terrain of the woods I was running in was that day was, I got off pretty light, slapping into a relatively solid patch of dirt, rather than slopping head over tail into a claggy bog. There was no injury, no pain, not even any witnesses about to be cause for any embarrassment, so really if felt good to get a solid stack out of my system.
Running in terrain like that, boggy and claggy and rooty and tough, feels completely anti-social. Theoretically, running is a healthy activity, something that an active, vital member of society will do to maintain their well-being, but sometimes you get running on a patch which no sane, useful human would. And it feels good to do so. I enjoy running on the roads, I enjoy racing and intervals and being specific, but I can’t do it all the time. Sometimes I need to go a little fringe, a little wild, and go out and play. Stacking it in the mud, getting caked up to my knees in goop, is the perfect way to do that. It refreshes my training mind, takes me away from the grind, whilst still keeping the ball rolling towards my long term targets.
Not that I’d say not to a bit of a sun to make these sorry old trails a bit more friendly.