Are You Still An Animal?

I was at about mile 4.5 of a 9-mile trail race, the Hotter n' Hell race to be exact when my ex-intern says to me, "this is a different kind of animal Beau Beard."

I also remember a few years back when my office manager was helping us work a trail race; she looked over at me as the first few runners finished and said, "these runners are more like animals than road runners are."

It's fascinating to me that both statements included a reference to animals. I also think it's interesting that humans don't typically identify as animals, but sure enough, that's what we are. Humans are of the order 'primate,' and from there, we start to branch away from our more recent ancestors.

This is why I'm so intrigued and awed by trail running, and I don't necessarily mean 100-mile races, the extreme bouts of endurance or the insanely talented athletes. Moreso I'm interested in how getting out on the trails, moving at top speed, losing yourself in your breath and pain, really can make you feel like an animal. Add time, miles, and mud to this equation, and you start turning concrete walking, love seat sitting, iPhone screen gazing Home sapiens into something that gets much closer to resembling our primitive ancestors.

While I think most of the ways humans pine for days long gone are contrived at best, getting connected and lost in nature, will never fall out of season.

We've all heard the whisper. The gentle calling that if suppressed and quieted for too long will in time bare its teeth and force us to howl at the moon — the call to shed your civilized shell and return to the wild.