[Note: This piece was originally written a few weeks ago as an entry to an essay contest hosted by Geoff Roes via iRunFar. Geoff challenged readers to convey the idea of why they run in an essay of 350 words or less, using whatever writing style the contestants chose, to attempt to answer this oft asked question that seldom has a concrete or well defined answer. Geoff's original post can be found here, and a follow-up post with the winning entry here.]
Somewhere in the woods of Upstate New York, a creek snakes its way among the pines, slowly eroding the shale and siltstone one millimeter at a time as it has done for the past 10,000 years. The winding creek is paralleled for miles by an equally winding singletrack trail. Last night’s snowfall has created a uniform layer of crystal white virgin snow – a pristine coat that rises and falls perfectly to match the contour of the trail’s slope. Despite the icy December air, the creek water flows smoothly, making its way downstream and ultimately dissipating into the infinite waters of a massive lake.
The morning tranquility is hardly interrupted by a steady crunching of shoes across the untrodden white blanket. A solitary runner slowly fades into focus, materializing amidst the light fog that often graces the creek bed at this hour. The runner climbs steadily up the singletrack, cresting the highest