Trail Running Lessons – What is our Best?

I’m grateful I live very close to the beautiful trails on the island of Gozo, where I can also swim at the end or at some point during my runs. This is one of my favorite times of the day, when I go out and do it, which on most days I do.

Saying that, I don’t always wake up brimming with excitement to go. Sometimes I don’t feel like, I feel tired, I make excuses, I procrastinate. Especially now that I don’t have fixed working hours, and can go later in the day.

One of the main reasons why I go is because I know that after I start running and get over the initial stage of overcoming my psychological mind telling me to stay home or do something else, I get into that beautiful rhythm, have a refreshing swim, and come back home feeling great!

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Vall D’aran – Exceeding Limitations

 

This is a story about one of the times I challenged myself to new limits, and while breaking them, hit the new ones, during a 114km race with an elevation gain of 7,000 meters that I almost finished.

I woke up to my alarm at 3:30am in a guesthouse in a little town called Vilac, in the Spanish Pyrenees Mountains. I packed the last items in my running backpack, ate a breakfast of rice, avocado and peanut butter, and got picked up by a taxi that took me to the starting line of the UTVA in Salardu.

Before any challenging event I always have mixed feelings of calmness, surrender, anxiety and an acceptance that whatever has to happen will happen. I also get thoughts of “am I ready for this” and “what the hell am i doing?” And so on. That’s where my mindfulness practice comes in and I just remind myself to witness the thoughts without believing any of them.

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Allowing Healing

I get a lot of realisations and clarifications while I’m running, or through my experience of running. One of them recently was a comparison of emotional pain or injury to physical.

Emotional pain, in my experience, either arises from past experiences, or is triggered by a present experience, which may often be bringing up past experiences which need to heal.

When I have a physical injury, say my knee is aching, there is a process for healing.

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Nature Time With Ourselves

How can we live calmly in the hectic world we live in? How can our mind stay stable when it is being bombarded with all the stimulations coming from today’s world?

Whether we admit it or not, the fact is that city life, and the working life we live, is not natural to human beings, and we have not yet adapted to it (thankfully). We evolved in lush, natural areas, much less populated then today.

We all feel great after we spend even 15 minutes next to the ocean, or walking in the countryside. Our mind feels naturally calmer.

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Transylvania Trail Traverse – Lessons From Endurance

I’ve been attracted to running long distances since I heard that it’s possible. Last year I felt I wanted to start increasing my mileage, so I did, little by little, till I met a group of guys in Malta who loved running and loved nature and organized a couple of trail runs a week. In short this is what led me to Romania this September to try and run my first Ultra marathon.

The race was set in the Transylvanian mountains, the distance 52km and the elevation gain 4300m. Wow! Never dreamt I’d sign up for such a thing.  When I signed up for it I thought it will be around 8 hours of running and walking, and then I found out I was just a little off the mark!

Here we were, 5 guys from Malta, all with a passion for running and nature, two of us with previous ultra experience and 3 newbies. I had never even run an official marathon, never really felt attracted to it. But this, this looked awesome! My only fear was that I would not be able to do it because in training for it I overdid it a little and over trained and now I had a small repetitive strain injury near my knee. This was making it painful to run, and even just walk down stairs at times. But since I had already booked my flight and ticket I thought I’ll give it a try and if it gets too painful I’ll just stop.

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Trail Run to Mae Yen Waterfall, Pai, Thailand

I just finished eating my post run breakfast, which consisted of a dragon fruit, 3 mangoes and a Papaya. And the run was the trail run to Mae Yen waterfall, the second time I made it there.

Soon after I arrived to Pai, I found out about the waterfall, which they told me is 7km away but takes 6 hours to go there and back. So I decided I will try to run there. I know that they always exaggerate the times and base it upon people who walk there and take it easy, stopping many times to drink, eat, rest and so on.

On one of my shorter runs I ended up running in a jungle, crossing a river a few times to remain on the trail. After some time I realized that I was on the Mae Yen trail but I wasn’t going to do it on that day cause I had already run quite a bit, and I always like to carry a banana or two when I’m doing a long run, just in case I need them. But a couple of days later I took my Go Pro, a couple of bananas (the really small tasty ones), and off I went.

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