My name is mud

The Eskimos have dozens and dozens of words for snow, so the story goes. There’s soft snow, crunchy snow, fresh snow, old snow, etc. etc.

This guy loves trail running so much he can taste it.

I think by this time tomorrow, I’ll have lots of words for mud.

I’m planning to run a trail half-marathon on the Three Lakes Trail in the Morgan Monroe State Forest. What better way to celebrate my 50th year on Earth?

No one is promising a picture-perfect day. It’s supposed to rain tonight. It’s been raining almost every day for weeks. I’m sure the creeks will be swollen and the hills will be a muddy wreck.

OK, not just muddy. I will run through muck, ooze, sludge, slime. I will traipse through shoe-sucking creeks and slide down greasy singletracks.

Some people might think this is no way for a grown person to spend two hours.

They’re probably right.

Trail Boy is a little strange that way. And so are a few hundred other trail runners who show up at this race every year, rain or shine, to enjoy the woods and streams.

We’re an odd lot. We prefer the muddy trails to the dry roads. We don’t mind splashing through a few puddles.

Yet this race is a low-key, almost underground affair. I’ve never seen any advertising for it. I never get any e-mails about it, even though I’ve run it many times. The race never sells out. You can drive up 10 minutes before it starts and plunk down $20 for a number. It’s nearly an underground affair.

Yep, trail running is a well-kept secret around these parts.

Meanwhile, at the very same time on Saturday, more than 5,000 road runners will be taking part in the Geist Half Marathon, about 60 miles north of this forest. It’s for people who like to keep their shoes nice and clean, while running on city streets. The race sells out every year.

All I can say is, road runners are welcome to pound the pavement. That leaves the trails nice and roomy for me and my fellow trail runners.

Mud, here I come!

What's a trail without a little water? If I wanted to keep my shoes all pretty, I'd run the Geist Half Marathon this weekend.


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