I grew up in Vermont. Very, very, rural Vermont. Less than 1,000 residents in my town when we first moved there when I was 9. So small I had to drive 20 minutes each way to get to middle/high school every day once we outgrew the tiny town elementary school (more like 45 minutes on a snowy day). I lived on the side of a mountain, on a tiny (ha!) 138 acre lot, and my closest neighbors lived almost a half a mile away on a dirt road. This picture below…that’s just half of the driveway to our old house. What a view. And growing up, I loathed that area. I dreamt of living somewhere with a mall (closest one was a 2 hour drive to Burlington) and a beach. Oh I dreamt of the beach…surfing, warm weather, and did I mention the mall? I craved modern conveniences, and did not appreciate the mountain air, nor the fact that we only got 4 TV stations…2 when the satellite froze to the roof for 6 months out of the year (true story). I truly believed back then that being a teenager without access to MTV was a travesty.
Well I grew up, moved around a little bit, and long story short, I find myself now in the very flat, very paved, very populated city of Myrtle Beach. We’ve got malls, shopping, shopping and more shopping, every fast food chain you can think of, 4 walmarts in a 15 minute drive radius, and oh yeah, we certainly have the beach.
But you know what they say…the grass is always greener, you don’t appreciate what you’ve got till it’s gone, blah blah blah…etc.
I’ve got trail running fever. BAD. Certainly due to the fact that I’ve gotten myself incredibly hyped up over the Umstead Trail Marathon (of which the registration opening date I’m currently stalking on the calendar). I kick myself for not taking advantage of such vast, beautiful mountains when I lived in Vermont, but back then I was too busy being, well, a teenager. The only trail running experience I have to date is the maybe one mile through the mountains of Clayton, Georgia during the middle of the Warrior Dash. I remember a few slight ankle turns over roots and down rocky hills weakening the ligaments for the grand finale of a sprain, but most of all I remember how FUN it was. And hard. Harder than I ever imagined it would be.
I’ve seen this video a handful of times, and the people in this video make running up and down these trails seem as effortless as a mountain goat (I seriously fear I would fall off of the side of some of these cliffs…)
But in reality, my first go at trail running was far, far from mountain-goat-effortless. In fact, I secretly was not upset in the SLIGHTEST when the single track trail was backed up with walkers, forcing me to walk as well. I welcomed the break. But then there were the ankle turning downhills, and they were just FUN. Running down the flat, straight paved streets of my neighborhood can feel like work (though I still love it). Running uninhibited, down a mountain side, dodging rocks, roots, overhead branches, streams and mini mudslides is fun, it’s freeing. Reminds me of being a kid back in Vermont, with my little sister and the neighbor girls next door (you know, the half a mile away neighbors) would run around in the woods for hours, building forts, bridges over streams, and climbing up and over massive fallen trees.
I crave that free feeling.
In the meantime, I do what I can to continue to train for the trail marathon that will most certainly kick my butt. I appreciate ALL of your suggestions for training here in good ol’ Myrtle Beach on my last post about trail running. Especially the great exercises suggested by Elinor at Trail Running for Women.
I’m pretty sure I’m driving both of my fitness classes insane with all of the squats, lunges, and wall sits we’ve been doing lately. I’ve been working on butt, leg, and ankle strength walking on the Landice at it’s highest incline (15%) barefoot. And the most awesome, unexpected source of training, a flashback from my beach bum-surfer girl days: The Indo Board!! (excuse my look of “did you take the picture already?” it takes talent to pose pretty and balance on a wood floor, haha)
And the IndoFLO balance cushion
Oh the fun we had on these things back in the day, haha. My mom clearly remembers me landing centimeters away from crashing straight into her beloved Christmas tree full of generations worth of prized ornaments. And I believe a few of my old college roommates will remember a few incidents of sprained wrists (not mine) and a giant hole through my apartment wall when someone went flying off of the board (not me.) I never imagined one day I’d stand around watching TV and avoiding toddler toes on the indoboard with the sole intention of strengthening my legs to run up and down mountain trails. My my my how the times have changed.
It may not help me running up the steep hills, but I welcome anything to help prevent falling off the side of the mountain.
I’m eagerly planning a day trip up to Raleigh in the coming month to
give these trails a whirl get my butt handed to me in trail running again. Any takers? (uhh, does it snow up there?)
Happy running my friends! Find your cross training wherever you can !