I've been feeding my running soul lately with some nice destination runs: runs that are a result and an expression of that which I have done in my training and my life to be at that point. For most of the past 6 weeks I have been doing runs which have been building me up and moving me toward destinations but now I see and feel an arrival beginning to take place. That is to say that I'm beginning to feel myself once again running for the sake and enjoyment of the run rather than to get myself to a physical place of being able to run for as long as I want to. There is a big difference between the two. You can't have the one without the other, but it sure feels good once you get yourself to a point where you can do destination runs several times a week.
Many days I still head out on the trail simply for the sake of getting my body into better and better physical shape, but these aren't really the runs that keep me hungry and motivated. Rather it's the long slow journeys into the mountains which sometimes last for a couple hours and sometimes last for a couple days. Last weekend I got out for an 8 hour run that took me to areas around Juneau that I've never seen before. When we finally dropped back down to the coast we were treated to an evening run, at low tide, along 7 or 8 miles of beach. A perfect way to end an incredible day out in the forest and on ridge lines. Then on Monday I "discovered" a new (to me) trail that accesses one of the most incredible alpine areas that I have ever seen anywhere in my life, and it was only 2o minutes from the trailhead to be above tree line. In 45 minutes I was up in majestic snow covered alpine that felt like it should have taken days to access. I found this area so appealing that I went back there today for my third destination run in 7 days. And now I have another one planned tomorrow which will take me to some more places I've never travelled before.
I didn't expect to be getting this much time up in the mountains again until late spring but we have had such little snow fall this winter that the ridge running is about as nice right now as ever. I'm almost bummed that I'll be leaving here in just over two weeks to drive down south for my next two races. A 5 week vacation to the lower 48 should be pretty sweet though. More about that trip soon.