Treading Lightly

I’ve always struggled to find a balance between work and play.  To be honest, I think there are very few people in this world that can say they have found the perfect balance between the time that pays their bills, and the time that sincerely pulls at their heart strings.  Well, at least for the simple people in this world, such as myself.

I strongly believe that I live through a split personality.  On one side, I arrive in a boardroom wearing a business suit with an aggressive and fearless drive to rise to the top.  On the other, my trail shoes and I are perched atop a mountainside, assessing the fastest line to descend.  My suit craves promotions, praise and success.  My shoes crave dirt, pain and…success.

Both sides are obviously on a similar axis – a parallel of inner personality traits focused on different finish lines that follow different tracks.  The crux of the problem is the distance between each parallel.  In my eyes, it’s the closer the better, but in reality, it’s extremely difficult to merge the two.  Thankfully, it’s moments like this past weekend’s that allow me to enjoy the best of both worlds.

I traveled to North Carolina last Friday for an audit of a dermatology conference taking place in Cary.  I arrived at the hotel quite late and was elated to find myself “shacked up” at an incredible hotel: The Umstead Hotel and Spa.  I believe three words will sufficiently describe the comfort of this hotel: aromatherapy, down pillows, and GREEN.

Beautiful green foliage outside the hotel.

Beautiful green foliage outside the hotel.

After a full day of activities on Saturday, I awoke on Sunday excited to explore the nearby State Park.  I headed down to the conference rooms, wrapped up a few things, laced up my trail shoes and headed to Umstead State Park.

The park is less than a mile from the hotel - perfect location!

The park is less than a mile from the hotel – perfect location!

Temperatures hovered around a pristine 60 degrees with the sun playing peek-a-boo with the forest canopy in the park.  I was in heaven with the firm conditions of the trail and the wide array of green surrounding me.

Wide singletrack within the firm trail and tree roots throughout.

Wide singletrack wound its way throughout the park acreage. 

I typically don’t find myself as high on cloud 9 as I was on Sunday, but I think that the combination of snowy and cold Colorado conditions coupled with the constraints of a window-less conference room on Saturday made for the perfect trail running scene on Sunday.

Trails + Green = Happiness

Trails + Green = Happiness

The run was so perfect – so incredibly dream-like, that I found myself treading lightly on the trails so as not to disturb nature and someone else’s world that I was seemingly stepping upon.

The lake within the park.

The lake within the park.

It’s a trend – treading lightly – that I find myself following whether I’m wearing my suit or my trail running shoes.  Nevertheless, maybe the dichotomous relationship between both worlds is what makes them that much better.  Maybe the trails are greener because the conference calls are longer.  Maybe the promotions are better because the sacrifices are greater.

I don’t know.

I also don’t know what the perfect balance is, nor do I believe I ever will.  But I’m confident in knowing that each part of me is in pursuant of something greater – something higher – just, something.

Loblolly Trail at Umstead State Park

Loblolly Trail at Umstead State Park



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