Running and thinking at Stillwell

Stillwell: Mind and Body

Today’s run (Stillwell Woods): 4.25 miles

It occurred to me that I haven’t run the trails in a while, so I looked it up on Garmin Connect and saw that my last Stillwell run was eight weeks ago. After thirty runs on pavement and treadmill, I thought it was time to head back to the woods. Trail running is far different than street running, both in terms of experience and expectation. On trails, the terrain underfoot can change by the second and the hills and drops are frequent and occasionally treacherous. Not all trails are as technical as Stillwell and that’s probably a good thing.

A trail run was the ideal way to burn some extra calories after last night’s Thanksgiving dinner. We had fun and were given the choice of both normal people food and vegan offerings. Another guest cooked most of the vegan dishes and I give credit to my sister-in-law (who hosted) for preparing excellent vegan acorn squash stuffed with toasted quinoa and cranberries. I had tofurky for the first time and thought it was really good, like well marinated seitan.

Stillwell Woods Park was fairly empty when I arrived. A group of men were assembling to play touch football and a few others were busy preparing mountain bikes in the lot. There were light winds that made it feel like 26° but I had prepared for that. The trails were clear and the ground was frozen for the most part. I enjoyed being back on Stillwell’s paths and its ever changing surroundings.

I’d recently read an article that said, “If I am thinking at all when I run, this is a sign of a run gone wrong.” I think the writer’s point was that if you can think, you haven’t given yourself fully to the effort. I strongly disagree with this and suggest the opposite. I feel that when you reach a state where you are thinking about anything except for the run, you have succeeded. When I’m running in the woods I am able to detach from the physical world in a way that’s nearly impossible to do while running on the street.

I enjoyed every foot of the 4+ miles I covered today and thought about many things, all of which I’ve since forgotten. I know I need to work on my speed this weekend and should probably have gone to the track today, instead of the woods. After all, there’s always tomorrow and Sunday to do that. Today was about the mind, and tomorrow I’ll worry about the body.

4 thoughts on “Running and thinking at Stillwell

  1. Ha ha! I love that you forgot all of your wonderful thoughts! Welcome to my world!I agree about getting lost in one's thoughts during a run. The miles and time seem to fly by. I think I run faster when I'm distracted. If I'm constantly ticking by every foot and every second, I think I would have given up running long ago. A friend asked others to post why they run on her FB wall. My response was , \”Peace of mind.\” Without a doubt.


  2. I've figured many things while on a run. I remember the resolutions, but never the process. LIke Murakami says in his book, \”What exactly do I think about when I'm running? I don't have a clue.”Peace of mind is also why I run. We may forget the details, but we always remember the experience.


  3. \”We may forget the details, but we always remember the experience.\” – I like that! I smiled too, when you said you couldn't remember what you had thought about. Happens to me more than I would care to admit. I've also covered what at the time seems to be the greatest distance the fastest when I zone out of the run.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s