First off, Shrinrin-Yoku is a phrase that I first read about on Scott Dunlap’s blog. It literally means “forest bathing“. More on this below. This would be second time running this race and third time on this course. Coming off the holidays and before the jet-lagged year (business travel) begins, it was great to be in the forest running just to be there. No PR, no sense of how long it would take. Just a beautiful, peaceful run in the woods, far away from social media and political news. JOMO (Joy of Missing Out) at its best. My Strava activity below:
Crystal Springs 50K
8:30am start is always a luxury, which means getting to sleep in a bit. Not so fast! My 15yo had a Lacrosse tournament and we were up at 5:30 (including the puppy). I was driving towards Woodside towards the start and saw this beautiful rainbow. Always a good omen for what would turn out to be a perfect day in the woods. This rainbow was unique in that it seemed to literally touch the ground in front of the mountains. Very cool.
Anyways, after starting the initial climb and soaking in the streams, gushing creeks, redwood rain, soft trails, lush green moss and vegetation and being lost in all of that for a while, I was thinking of how best to describe all of this when I almost reached the top when Scott Dunlap shows up with his camera taking pictures of the runners and then it hit me. Shrinrin-Yoku. Forest Bathing. That pretty much sums up the rest of the day.
Especially along the Skyline Ridge, it was quite misty adding to the mystery of the single track. I lost track of time, just splashing on puddles and having a great time. With all the mud, I was definitely working harder as the VFuel Gels didn’t seem to last as they normally do. Water consumption though, was at an all time low, given how cool the weather was. Super lucky it wasn’t pouring down on us. Must’ve crossed 6 or 7 downed trees. One of them was blocking the trails so bad, we had to veer off trail for 20-30 feet to get around it.
The last 4.6 miles of downhill is always so much fun, but had to be on alert as it was super muddy. Crossed the finish line in 5:50ish, though Strava’s moving time is close to 5:12. Got to meet Penny Macphail (4;59 and awesome story about why she takes the rubber chicken everywhere!) and chat with Sarah Lavender Smith (5:16 RunUltra overall blogger of the year!) at the finish line. Lastly thanks to Allison Pieja for sharing the last ~7ish miles with me and nudging me along on all the uphills.
What an awesome way to start the year. Forest Bathing does work like magic. Cleanses the mind and soul in a way that’s incomparable to anything else.
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