The Fit Life: Embraced ...

By Magdalena Romanska, Ph.D.

By Magdalena Romanska, Ph.D.

What a hard time choosing the title for this column. It was either “Belonging…” or “Embraced…”.

My sense of independence hoovering high, I chose the second option. “Belonging” sounded too possessive, even though I am not talking here about the unhealthy ways of belonging.

As I am writing this, I am getting ready to travel to Leadville, CO, for a trail running event. 2020 put a major halt on those races. As a result, many of us switched to the “virtual racing” that year. Meaning that we still went far, but in our own ways, on our own trails, and often unsupported and alone.

Those were the days when I completed, for example, the 800 Mile AZT Challenge 2020. Between work commitments, in chunks and on the trails around Sedona, I run or fast hiked for 800 miles. This distance represents the whole length of the Arizona Trail if you cover it from Mexico to Utah. The “only” difference was that the AZ trail was closed in multiple places due to the fires and the border wall construction. Plus, any organized event was discouraged due to the virus. I even got some cool trophies for completing those few miles!

Back then, nothing much got organized anymore. Many of us got out of rhythm of traveling Friday to the race headquarters, registering, picking the bib and the goodie bag, trying to “relax” the Friday night and reporting to the starting line at about 5 a.m. on Saturday… Race duffels and drop bags which had always been pre-packed and half-ready (with the list of items each of us was adding at the last moment sitting nearby) got permanently unpacked and finally washed. Many of us got out of rhythm.

In 2021, ultra-marathon trail events started picking up again. Spring was in the air!

You must imagine the extreme level of my disorganization when today, after the break, I am attempting to pack for some serious miles of an elevated event. Might run in the snow. Might hail. Might be 10,100 or 13,100 feet high. Might be hot. Sun might burn me. Or not. Might be windy. Likely, all the above…

Challenges are, precisely, one of the main reasons that we participate in those events. Race town grocery clerks would always ask you how far you go. When you answer, they invariably say: “I do not even like to drive that far.”

But then, the anticipation of meeting the community which embraces me is worth all the packing distress! This excitement is another extremely important reason of doing what we do.

You meet the same old running friends at the Friday Expo. Saturday, you drive up to the starting line in the dark, with an obligatory coffee mug in your car. You park, get out of the warm car, and launch yourself into the crispy morning darkness with like-minded friends. Head lamps, a sense of adventure and big smiles on. Trail runners are such an embracing community. One of those people where it feels good and right to belong to.

Magdalena is the owner of the Be Fit Fit Personal Training Studio ( and the Top 3% Chairman’s Board Realtor® at the Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International in Sedona. Visit her “Be Fit Fit” blog at

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