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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Faraone

I had an affair...and it made me a better runner

I’m not sure how or when it all began, but suddenly I was feeling excitement, desire and passion all over again. Feelings that were suppressed since the birth of my children suddenly re-surfaced. Maybe it was the lure of the unknown, the thrill of the chase, or the inability to resist that musky, woodsy, “manly” scent that I was first attracted to. It wasn’t however, the thrill of the “tall dark stranger”; after all, I’ve had a series of flings over the years with this particular individual. Whatever the reason, I was head-over-heels in love - with trail running.

At first, I felt guilty for not focusing on my first love, road running. After all, he was my primary partner for many years and he was part of my identify. Improving my performance on the road was my focus year after year. I now felt like I was cheating on old faithful and owed him an explanation for why I was spending so much time with someone else. Was I going through mid-life crisis? Was I selfish for wanting to be exclusive to trail running? Looking back, I realized that my heart was no longer into road running. He no longer provided the same satisfaction or inspired me to train harder. I was no longer interested in racing.

But all of that changed following my first 5 Peaks trail race several years ago. I entered the race as per the suggestion of a running companion, despite having very little trail running experience. I was blown away immediately. The vibe was so much different from the road; the people were friendlier; the course was much more stimulating; and the running was more exhilarating. Suddenly I was inspired and I craved more. I couldn’t get enough of it and I wanted to spend as much time as possible on the trails. I wanted to train again and push myself to new limits. I even secretly desired to win the series that year. I felt alive and loved running again with a purpose. I owed this renewed passion to my new companion, Trail Running.

The years have since past and I am still madly in love with trail running. I guess you can say I found “the one”. So my recommendation to you is this: go have an affair. Focus on a different type of run or distance. Play around with a new form of cross training. Incorporate some type of change to your exercise routine that that will get your juices flowing, your heart rate elevated and will inspire you to do more. Not only will this make you feel wonderful, but it will likely make you a stronger and more passionate athlete! ________________________________________ Jennifer Faraone is an avid trail runner and coach in Toronto. She holds clinics and camps, giving runners the opportunity to flirt with the trails.

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