Yesterday, an old friend called that I hadn't talked to in some time.
"Joe, this is Paul. Want to talk a little trail running with you. Give me a call."
OK. Well, it didn't take very long to get around to returning that call. In fact, I had kind of been hoping for a call like that from Paul.
You see, Paul and I used to play Ultimate (frisbee) together for a nationally competitive team when he lived in Portland, and that is how we met and became friends. Most of our conditioning was done at practices or at track workouts during the week and consisted mostly of extended shuttle-type running, plyometric stuff, or interval work. The aerobic stuff took care of itself from scrimmages and running on your own time. At that point in my life I was not a runner. Sure, I ran--often several times a week--but rarely more than four or five miles, and always by myself, and always on the roads, a track, or maybe a wood chip path through a nearby park.
There was one time, however, where I did run on the trails. And this was with Paul. He led us through some trails in Forest Park on probably a five or six miler, and I didn't know where the hell I was. But I had a blast! I remember trying to catch Paul, bombing down the hills, and the tight turns, and the mud, and the trees, and that feeling of both total focus and mental release that only happens on a good day in the trails. That run will stick with me forever.
And there was the one season where Paul was training for a marathon. I remember him having to sit out or miss some weekend practices because of his long runs. I had no comprehension of a two or three hour run, but here was Paul cranking them out. He even got up early to get a long run in one weekend when a few couples stayed the night together playing games at Suttle Lake in a cabin without electricity or plumbing. I have to admit part of me was grabbed by that perseverance. The marathon had always intrigued me in that "how is that possible" kind of way, and here was a guy I knew doing it. Paul moved to Logan, Utah before I stopped playing Ultimate and really started running, but his influence certainly never left.
So fast forward to yesterday and the phone call. Turns out he had just ran the Antelope Island Buffalo Run 25k trail run and was pretty excited about it. He did really well, and had been running in Vibrams no less. Impressive! He's got the bug. He was already talking about the next one...Logan Peak. 28 miles with over 7000 feet of gain.
I have been wanting to get down there to run for some time. This might be the perfect reason.