One of my favorite TV commercials of all time was “This is Your Brain on Drugs.” It was short and sweet and highly memorable. And it was imitated far and wide.
In that spirit, I would like to launch a public-service announcement for road runners:
“This is your foot.”
“This is your foot after years and years of pounding pavement.”
Hmmm. Do you think this campaign would help get runners off of miserable, punishing pavement, and onto the trails, where life is wonderful all day long?
Probably not. The “Brain on Drugs” campaign was a huge, expensive effort by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. But I have my doubts about how much of a dent it made in cocaine sales.
To further cloud the picture, few of us are really pure. I’m as big an advocate of trail-running you are likely to meet in Indiana, but I have to confess, I pound my share of pavement too.
The sad fact is, most of us live in a concrete jungle. My home, Indianapolis, was built for cars — not pedestrians, much less hikers and runners. The biggest single event in this city every year is the Indy 500, for the love of Pete. And the biggest running event is the Indy Mini, a half-marathon that runs completely on pavement — including the Indy Motor Speedway.
Yep, trails are scarce around these parts.
Of course, I run them as often as possible, but that adds up to two, maybe three times a week. The rest of the time I’m running on asphalt, just like the next guy.
Just this morning, I pounded out seven miles on neighborhood roads before work. It wasn’t very fun. My body didn’t like it. Neither did my mind.
Maybe that’s why I appreciate trails so much. When I run them, my heart skips a beat with joy. My soul is refreshed. I just wish I could do it every single day.
So let me just say this to any runner who lives within hailing distance of trail. If you aren’t out there on your trails nearly every day, you’re poking me in the eye, pal.
And one day, Trail Boy will find you.