Stupid, freaking traffic. It’s 10:40 Sunday morning and I’m running late for a rendezvous with the trail. It’s been a couple of months since I’ve been on a trail run and I can’t wait. But Pleasant Valley Rd. is backed up and I have no idea why. Then, as I crawl toward the 4-way stop at Braddock Rd., I see it. Cox Farms. And I remember that it’s Fall Festival opening weekend. And everyone in Northern Virginia is headed to the festival.
Finally crawl past Braddock and get on the open road. Quick call to my friend Lisa, who I discover missed the turn and is now backtracking, so at least she’s not waiting. I should be there in 5 minutes. But every stinking light on Route 29 is red. Quick call to husband to ask him to pick up kids at 12:30 as there’s no way I’ll make it now. Finally reach trailhead at 11am, 15 minutes late and FUMING. Stupid, freaking traffic. Stupid, freaking red lights.
We start running along Bull Run trail. And within 3 minutes my anger and tension have vanished. Running on the trail, any trail, is as close to a spiritual experience as I’ll get. I can’t describe it. I don’t even notice I’m running. And before I get too carried away and start dropping cliches all over the page, let me show you why running trails is so much better than running on the road.
There is just no way you can have this much fun on the road. And you don’t have to worry about getting lost. You don’t even need a map or directions. You just follow the markings on the trees:
Roads are for cars. Trails are for fun.