Trail running has always sort of intimidated me. But, anything I'm not really good at intimidates me. I tend to be a one-pace person. That pace has changed over the years, but generally I go x-minute miles with only about 20 seconds difference. Ever.
I grew up running with no devices and never really worried about numbers. When I went to college, my father got me a Timex watch that had one feature: a timer. I went out for between 40 and 50 minutes each morning during the week, and 80 to 100 minutes on the weekend. I ran every day and didn't even know how fast I was going. I drove routes in my old Chevy Lumina, in order to have some idea what the milage was. When I started running cross-country, everything was new to me. Tempo, fartlek, repeats. The only "speed" work I did with my father was sprinting to the end of each run: maybe 100-200 yards.
Because speed work wasn't how I was born into running, I feel like I always sort of dreaded it. Each first day of practice after a break from school, my college coach would have us run a timed mile. I never stopped running during breaks, so it wasn't a big deal for me. But my teammates (whether they did their own conditioning or not) would run so hard they'd vomit. I never got that: I never went that hard.
I've given trail running a few chances here and there, but recently I think I'm finally GETTING it: like being a kid again. Pace doesn't really matter. Or, not like it does on flat land. There's zero consistency. Get up the hill (or, mountain), recover, and fly down the other side. It's. So. Much. Fun. I've been getting up earlier and earlier to be the only one at Devil's Backbone in Loveland, Colorado. The first-light sun on the rocks is always stunning. There are several different trail options, and all give way to views of Rocky Mountain National Park--namely, Long's Peak.
I like the concentration of being on the trails: it's actually freeing. There's so much to think about (rocks, foot placement, climbs, mud, grass...rattle snakes) that you can't get wrapped up in anything else. Nothing can clutter the mind except the trails. And I'm totally fine with my miles spanning at least 3-minutes on the trails: it all balances out.