There's a certain rythm to trail running you can't find on the road or track. Every run has it's own pulse and flow, and no two runs produce the same experience. Usually I am a solitary runner but I have come to appreciate running with the KC Trail Nerds. It's more than having someone else to clear the spider webs and scare off the copperheads (saw my first one last night).
When all you hear is the pounding footsteps in front of you and behind you, the swishing grasses and trees in the wind, rythmic breathing, and the beating of your own heart, you realize the pack is greater than the individual. The pace is faster and smoother, the distances farther than one might run on his own. There is something animalistic and natural to running in a pack; around corners, up hills, over branches, and through streams. If you've ever been trail running, then you know that humans were meant to run wild.
There is a bond between all runners and endurance athletes. I think it's true that our society has come to confuse comfort with happiness. The greatest rewards come after suffering and sacrifice. All endurance athletes know this - this is why we train. Part of the allure to doing a marathon or triathlon is doing something you didn't know your body could do and doing something that the average human can't do. And once you have pushed past those limits, you want to see how far you can really go. To surround yourself with others of the same mindset is refreshing and motivating.
I will always be more of a solitary runner than someone who always trains with a group. But I really enjoy the new "pack" I've found and the sense of community they offer.
Find your pack.
23 hours ago