When I was a kid all I ever seemed to want to do was to grow up. Make my own money, go where I wanted, eat what I wanted, mostly, just do what I wanted. I'm not entirely sure at what point I declared that I had finally made it as an adult, but I certainly don't recall memories of running through the streets high fiving folk in the celebration, of what I thought was such a milestone in life.
Fast forward fifteen years later or so, and one may say that I've been sincerely fortunate to make my way through some of the most excellent years of adulthood, reasonably unscathed. As many of us do, I have collected a varied amount of responsibility along the way that enables a particular way of living. A good job, a mortgage or two, some brilliant relationships, and an incredibly fat cat called Thomas. All of which comes complete with its very own set of significant advantages but also with its stresses. (Thomas can become very unfriendly when he gets hangry). As such, there has come a time where I have felt the need to escape the things I 'ought' to be doing or perhaps the things I should be taking care of. It seems that the very things I wished for as a child, I now spend much of my adulthood trying to free myself from.
I suppose when you note it all down like so, it may sound a little bit like adulthood is total rubbish and its all very much work and no play. Well, at times it certainly can feel like that, but I'm here for more than that and being a responsible(ish) adult allows me to test the boundaries, to go to the places I want. To seek and find experiences that fulfil the adventure that I look for, beyond the day-to-day living.
Trail Running has offered and, on many occasions, delivered experiences that are stacked with fun, laughter and some incredibly valuable tools that I use in my own way throughout my life. It allows head-space and time to put things into perspective. Freedom of such, similar to the kind that takes you back to when you had so few responsibilities, but it also allows me time to help make those all essential grown-up adulty decisions. It's time away with friends, a time to chew the cud, a time to nurture thoughts and my never-ending imagination. It provokes and inspires ideas and, at times, fills me with a sense of belief that I can do just about anything that I put my heart and mind to.
I read somewhere once that running distances is like living a year of your life all at once. There's something within that little saying that certainly resonates with me. During races, I have experienced many emotions over the course of, say, 30 hours. Some vast highs followed by some mega lows. Self-doubt, insecurity but also the incredible feeling of being unstoppable. You feel emotion. Trail Running and pushing those limits accentuates many emotions and, dare I say it, makes me feel quite alive.
From the glorious pages of Facebook, and the picture-perfect images on Instagram we're continuously exposed to, the positive and endearing quotes that, if they catch you at the right time, may have you stop and think for a moment or two. One of these little quotes that seems to appear from time to time is 'you can do anything, but you can't do everything'. Ive thought about this one for more than a moment and will choose to ignore its sentiment and keep pushing, keep trying and keep believing.
I suppose we're all trying. Trying to be responsible and all that being 'a responsible adult' entails. Although adulthood can be very confusing and equally terrifying from time to time, it is also an excellent and incredibly fortunate place to be. Trail running may not make the reality of responsibility disappear, but it indeed equips me with the tools to take it all on and the confidence to try absolutely anything and everything.
May your 2020 be all about finding that time to run away, I know mine will be!
Peas and Love - Nikki
thoughts, feelings and tribulations about running by runners.