Trail Running and Dad’s Laughing

BackpackI spent my formative years in the Adirondack mountains with my father.  It didn’t matter how snowy or how cold it got; we were outside.  Some of my worst and happiest childhood and teenage memories are from being outside with him.

See, whenever Dad did anything outside it wasn’t for 10 minutes.  Oh no! When Dad did something outside it was for hours.  Hiking mountains, skidding logs, didn’t really matter. When you went out you stayed out until he was ready to come inside.  I learned quickly that whining and crying made absolutely positively no difference.  As a matter of fact, I honestly think we stayed out longer when I whined or cried.  Plus, my face would get cold. All of this time taught me how to dress in layers, put breadbags on my feet to keep them dry, and how to identify all sorts of trees, birds and animals.

When my brothers and sisters came along many years later we started affectionately calling Dad’s hikes “death marches.”  If you didn’t hike fast enough or started to lag (which was usually accompanied by whining) Dad would use his ‘poke a hiney’ stick to get you moving.  We laugh about it now, but at that time it definitely kept you from falling behind or outright sitting down in the middle of the trail throwing a hissy fit. With 7 kids varying in age I think it was Dad’s control mechanism.

Ironically, I have come to absolutely LOVE trail running.  Treadmills and road running all have their needed places, but I would much prefer to be out on the trails.  I know my Dad is getting the last laugh on this one. When I told him this week about my love of trail running he quite literally busted out laughing.

Why do I love the trails so much?  First, nothing soothes my soul more than being out in the woods.  Again, I know my Dad is laughing.  I am 100% certain that that wSmiling Springer Spanielas his intention many moons ago when he started dragging taking me with him. Second, trails are just so much softer on my knees and back than any road or treadmill.  Plus, Perry gets to come with me.  This means not only does he get exercise, too, but he smiles the whole time we are going because he is with me AND he gets to play in the woods. What could be any better?

Trail RunningLuckily for me, there are several parks not too far from my house with various trails with a wide variety length.  I’m grateful that the soil in most of them is sandy vice clay which means even after it’s been raining for 13 days straight (no I wish I were kidding) there is still very little mud. Granted, some of the parks could really use some updated signage, but as long as I catch my errors early I don’t mind it so much.

I know that I truly love doing something when I finally commit to getting gear.  I broke down this past week and ordered a pair of Salomon Speed Cross 3‘s from REI.  Today was my first run in them and I could immediately tell the difference from my regular running shoes.  Not only was I not sliding all over the place, but all those tree roots I kept hitting didn’t matter because the tread comes up and over the toe box.  My toes thank me.  Yes, I think Perry and I shall make this a regular concurrence.  Well, as often as Mother Nature will let us.  I’ll let Dad continue to laugh.  I won’t hear him anyway, I’ll be off in the woods.


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