Destination Dirt Goes on the Road!

Lao Tzu, John Muir, and Reese Ruland discuss how she should spend her trail running summer.

By on May 21, 2013 | Comments

[Editor’s Note: This summer, writer and runner Reese Ruland is taking iRunFar’s Destination Dirt series on the road. She’ll be traveling around the US and Europe to run in, learn about, and document her experiences in future articles. The following is her introductory article for this project. Stay tuned because she needs your help!]

The most bizarre thing happened to me the other day. I don’t know if it’s because of all the kombucha I drank or the stress from dealing with Telluride Mountain Run permits, but boy was it odd. I’ll start from the beginning.

I was fidgeting on my couch, hemming and hawing about races, camping trips, and my schedule, when all of a sudden Lao-Tzu and John Muir show up at my door step. I know what you are thinking, “Reese! That’s impossible! You don’t even have a doorstep. You have a patio.” Okay, well, that may be the case, and you might have caught me in a slight exaggeration, but the main point is, Lao and John are knocking on my door. Naturally, I invited them in, offered tea, and ushered them to please have a seat on my couch. So there we were just sitting around like old friends. We got to talking, the normal formalities at first, but I had to know why they were at my house. The following conversation is a rough account of what happened:

Reese: I didn’t know you two hung out together! And I would have never guessed you’d be in Denver. What brings you to my neck of the woods?

John: Well Reese, you see, I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.

Reese: Oh. Yes. I think I get it. And Lao, may I call you that? What brings you here?

Lao: Silence is a source of Great Strength.

I could tell I wouldn’t be getting a whole lot of answers from Lao.

Reese: Lovely. Well since I have to two of you here, maybe you could help me with some ideas for my summer. You see, having summers off is certainly a blessing, but it can also be a bit of a burden for someone like me. Namely, someone who has a hard time sitting still for very long. As the daylight steadily increases, so, too, does my anxiousness about how I am going to fill my time. Sure I have some trips planned, but I feel as though this gift of summer is something I shouldn’t waste by idling in some mountain town by myself. And if you really think about it, because I don’t work over the summer, my only job is figuring out how to spend my time well. Any ideas on how to fill my time?

Lao: Act without expectation. If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.

John: In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks. That being said, to ask me whether I could endure to live without friends is absurd. It is easy enough to live out of material sight of friends, but to live without human love is impossible.

Reese: I think I see what you two are eluding to! Yes, the mountains are enjoyable, but perhaps galavanting in them is not an end in itself. Sharing experiences, be it time in the mountains or elsewhere, is satisfying on a deeper level.

Lao: A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Reese: Excellent insight, Lao.

After a short while, it was obvious that the two of them were growing restless. John was staring towards the west out the back window, visibly yearning for the peaks. Lao had stopped stroking his white beard and a contemplative look glazed over his face.

Reese: Well, I suppose the two of you are busy men and likely have others to impart your wisdom upon. Any idea of where you are headed next?

John: I wish I knew where I was going. Doomed to be carried of the spirit into the wilderness, I suppose. I wish I could be more moderate in my desires, but I cannot, and so there is no rest.

Lao: A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving. Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.

And with that being said, they departed, leaving me dumbfounded but inspired. I immediately started brainstorming, making lists of things I want to do this summer:

  • see new towns,
  • meet more trail runners, and
  • get to know the trail running community better.

But which towns? How do I immerse myself in a foreign community? Which brings me to the REAL point of this article. I need the help of the iRunFar readers. In an effort to be a trail running investigative journalist, I’m asking iRunFar readers to show me their town, their local trails, and introduce me to the local running community. By taking part in this, I will feature the town in iRunFar articles throughout the summer. Are there any limitations on where I can travel to? I haven’t thought that far. Someone wise once told me to “let things flow naturally.” So that’s exactly what I’m trying to do. Pitch your town and we’ll go from there.

Notes and a Call for Comments (from Meghan)

  • Let’s hear it. Why should Reese visit your town and write a Destination Dirt article about it? Do you have good singletrack and an even better culture?
  • Make sure to leave your name, email address (It won’t be published, but Reese might need to contact you!), and answers to the previous questions in the comments section. Give Reese a good pitch on your town and she might just turn up to trail run with you!
  • In addition to creating Destination Dirt articles for iRunFar, Reese will be documenting some of her voyage’s experiences on her personal blog, Odi et Amo.
Reese Ruland

Reese Ruland enjoys spending her time exhausting herself in the mountains and desert, either on foot or by bike. She is a Pop Tart enthusiast, gear addict, science nerd, and mom to two French bulldogs, Loaf and Oatie. When she’s not out on some big adventure, she enjoys working with athletes on developing a healthy relationship with endurance sports and their bodies.