Partner, Allensworth & Porter
As a litigator in a construction law firm, Amy M. Emerson specializes in looking into the future, anticipating and preparing for anything and everything that could go wrong. When she leaves the office, however, her strategy is to live in the moment. Which is why she loves trail running. Emerson has always craved the outdoors. Growing up in rural West Texas, she and her family hunted and fished; these days she enjoys kayaking, cycling and hiking. When she turned 30, she took up running, mostly as a way to relieve stress. It wasn’t entirely successful. She found that her mind wandered as she ran—and mostly, it wandered back to work. “To be a creative litigator, you have to be thinking about a lot of things, but you also have to be able to turn it off,” she says.
In 2014, she tried trail running, and the difference was immediate. Navigating often challenging terrain allowed Emerson to find the focus that eluded her on the road. “When you’re on the trail, you have to concentrate all of your attention on what you’re doing so you don’t fall and bust your face open,” she says with a laugh. In March, Emerson completed her first trail-running ultramarathon, a 50K trail run in the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park on the Arizona-Utah border. She had so much fun, she’s planning on doing it again, this time along the north rim of the Grand Canyon.
For Emerson, the extreme distance was both the challenge and the return. “Running through these amazingly beautiful places is the biggest reward for me,” she says. “You get to see landscapes you would never see unless you went on a multiday hike.” Emerson always allows herself to stop along the way to absorb the beauty around her. She drinks in the silence and appreciates the peace. Sometimes, she even takes pictures. For her, the accomplishment isn’t the time—it’s the finish. “I compete every day in my job, so I don’t want to go out there and have to compete. This is the best way to decompress, and it just makes me really happy.”
Attribution: Photo courtesy of Amy Emerson. Text by Jenny B. Davis.