Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Running in the rain forest...

“If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere.”
- Frank A. Clark
I really like that...because there can be lots of "obstacles" in life. And some may seem pretty formidable. This trail was full of such things, in the form of fallen logs, mud holes, creeks that formed overnight, rocks, roots, and the lush underbrush that soaked our feet within minutes. None, of course, were "formidable" but all could have been considered "uncomfortable".

Trails without obstacles are OK, but sometimes it's what you have to crawl under or climb over or lift out of your way that contributes to the "adventure". But there's more.

The obstacles can also strengthen us. It's really as simple as choosing the stairs instead of an escalator. Or parking at the far side of the parking lot instead of as close to the store as possible. The extra effort required of us makes us stronger. Running on a trail, with all the lumps and bumps, means that the foot lands just a little differently every single time. More muscles are used than when running on a flat, predictable surface, and it's a better workout. Whether it's running the trails or just taking the stairs a little more often, we increase our strength and flexibility and become far less prone to those nagging "overuse" injuries in our middle and older years 

The same is true for paddling, or anything else in life for that matter. It's the varied conditions that we experience that build confidence and skill and makes for a great adventure. Too much sameness or "routine" in anything, makes us stiff and inflexible. Our bodies welcome variety of movement, in fact, they require it to be at their best. Sure, every so often, hard lessons are learned that can be painful (or humbling!) but the end result is that the path took us somewhere - somewhere important.

It's a way of seeing "obstacles" as our friends - and I think there's something rather positive about that.



  1. Looks like a "tropical" rainforest. From "rock" to Rockies to "rock" - some diversity, eh?

  2. Hi Gen,

    Well, not quite tropical but pretty nice for February for sure. Yeah, from sea to sea to sea - we got diversity!

  3. I learned to actually like hills, walking first then running slowly, because they had the same great effect as speed training. Perfect cause I never liked having to go fast! Kind of "obstacle" that works for me. Gord.

  4. I'll probably get to host grandchildren this year so I hope I remember a notion promoted in this blog - "its the varied conditions that we experience that build confidence and skill and makes for great adventure." I don't want to be so protective that I take away experiences and opportunities for the young ones to bloom and grow.

  5. Hi Gord,
    Totally agree, there's something very appealing about hills. You take them slowly, they are your friend.

    Hi Anon,
    Right on! Less "screen time" and more time in the woods. We had 25 youth at a camp over the weekend - much of it outside - the feeling of liberation was palpable! Highly recommend Richard Louv's book!