Saturday, October 9, 2010

Bulls and Candy Corn Fuel

I got my issue of Runner's World Magazine a few weeks ago and read it cover to cover, as usual. It happened to be the "trail running issue", which was particularly appealing to an outdoorsy girl like myself. I grew up camping and hiking and spending as much time outside as I possibly could. In fact, I was known among family and friends as being resistant to wearing shoes, especially in the summer. I would go all day without shoes, walking around my neighborhood, visiting friends, hanging out at the pool- all without shoes. It was heavenly! So, the idea of trail running was really exciting. I knew I would have to wear shoes of course, but figured it would help me rediscover my childhood freedom and allow me to get in touch with the outdoorsy kid hiding inside of me.

So, my brother agreed to meet me at 6:30 AM at a local trail. All night last night, I dreamed of being sprayed by skunks or having to wrestle an alligator in crocodile hunter fashion, since the trail ran alongside a creek and pond. Armed with headlamps, mace, and fuelbelts, we went running into the woods. In my dreams last night, I was fast and agile. I leaped over fallen logs and jutting tree roots, and splashed frearlessly into puddles, before running powerfully up small hills. It was much like a Ford truck commercial, only I was the one who was "Ford Tough" my dream.

In reality, I was constantly scanning the trail for critters, terrified I may be chased by an angry raccoon or possum. I kept hearing a snorting sound coming from the woods, which I was sure was a bull. Every snap of a tree branch made me flinch and worry that the bull was going to step in front of me and dare me to continue down HIS trail. I kept wondering if I should have brought something red to wave around and distract him the way a bullfighter does. I figured I could use my pink track jacket if it was really necessary. After all, I had only paid 6 bucks for it on the Academy clearance rack.

I was also surprisingly less agile and coordinated than I had been in my dream. I literally could NOT talk, run and watch for stumps and roots at the same time. Each time we got into a conversation, I would trip over a tree stump or roll my foot into a small dip in the trail. One time, I spotted some berries on a branch hanging overhead, and made a joke about snack time, and ate it. The dirt, not the berries. I picked myself back up, as this had been the THIRD fall I had taken on this trail run, and kept at it. Only, this fall had left a big set of scrapes across my shin. As I kept running, I grinned to myself. That set of scrapes across my lower leg was from a TRAIL RUN. Only hardcore people do stuff like trail run...

Ok, so I was less than "Ford Tough", but when we made it back to our cars, I was filthy enough to have dirt rings around my ankles, where my socks met my legs, and I had a war wound to show for my first trail running experience. We had just run about six miles through those trails and I was feeling pleasantly achey from it...and I never even had to fight the wild forest bull :) I hopped in my car, feeling very hardcore. On the way home, I refueled with candy corn I found in my purse , left over from the movie theater last night. Admittedly, a less than hardcore snack, but I'm easing myself in...

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