A Love Story: My First Time…

Even all these years later, I still remember the moment as if it were yesterday.

The morning sun had only just cleared the horizon.

The early spring air was still cool on my nose & lips. Dew formed droplets on the surrounding trees and reflected the sun’s rays.

I still remember how I felt.

Invigorated. Electrified. Alive

I’ll never forget my first time.

My first trail run was, quite literally, a life-changing experience for me 🙂

High on the trails above Balmoral near Sydney, Australia, I knew in that moment that trail running was something I was meant to do. Perhaps that sounds corny but (to be frank) I don’t care.

However it wasn’t always like that; I’ve written about my rather rocky relationship with running before. I remember how much running hurt my legs & my lungs when I first started.

I distinctly remember thinking I can’t possibly imagine doing this stupid sport my whole life.

How times change!

Now I can’t possibly imagine a time when it isn’t a part of my life whether as a runner, coach, trainer, spectator or volunteer.

That’s not to say that it’s something I do regularly. Various injuries, other goals (and dare I say it, the occasional excuse) over the years has resulted in it taking a back seat in my life. But I still have many memories of happy times spent on various trails to motivate me every time I feel frustrated by my progress (or lack thereof) or feel demotivated as the morning temperatures fall here in the Southern Hemisphere.

But every time I go near a trail these days, I am reminded of my first time.

During the Coastrek 100km race I did earlier this year, I returned to the very same trail I first ran all those years ago. Little had changed but perhaps time had magnified the memories.

I am reminded of it twice each week when I meet a girlfriend for a walk & to do stair repeats in the bush not far from home.

I was reminded of it again on the weekend when I headed to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains outside Sydney to watch some of my friends compete in The North Face 100(kms).

How I feel is best summed up by a quote attributed to a 17th century Chinese poet that  I first read in a bookshop in Nepal (of all places) ~

The body roams the mountains & the soul is set free.

So to remind ourselves of what we love to do, I have a little challenge for you.

Share your story. Tell me about your first time; the first time you fell in love with your sport of choice? And then sometime this week, do it – go out and do whatever it is about your sport (swimming, trail running, mountain biking, yoga as the sun rises – whatever) that brings you true joy & happiness.

Life’s too short not to.