While that HAT Run training doesn’t officially start until next week, our coach gave us a schedule to get us acclimated to what’s to come. So, this morning Reds and I decided to head up to Susquehanna State Park and give it a go on the course to see what it was about. When we got to what we thought was our starting point, the “Susquehanna Ridge Trail” which marked with red signs, this is what we saw…
Now, it doesn’t look like it from this picture, but this was one hell of a hill. Actually, it was more like a mountain. We both looked at each other and said “What did we get ourselves into?” There was no running up this one, so we decided to hike until we could get our run going. We hiked, and hiked, and hiked…how the heck do people RUN in this terrain??
This is our view at the top, well…we thought it was the top, but we ended up having to climb a lot more before we found some “running ground.”
This is the view of the path looking down from where we came. Look closer, the path is there…I kid you not.
Just about a little after a mile, we ended up back on the street. Huh? That’s it? Apparently, we made a wrong turn some where. We saw some folks that looked like runners up ahead and decided to see if they could help us figure out where we went wrong.
They were kind enough to show us a map of all of the trails and gave us a little bit of a crash course on the HAT Run as they have all participated several times over. Before we headed back on the trail, I made sure that we had a picture of the map.
They suggested that we continue on the red path as it was the most fun. Ummm…okay, red it was! Well, I tell you what…not sure what they thought the definition of fun was, but their “fun” was more like our “scary!” We ran up the road to find the entry back on to the red path and was greeted with this sign…
Yep. EXTREMELY DIFFICULT! So, when you decided to go out on your own on a trail for the first time, you should find the most difficult path and jump right in with both feet. <sigh> We stood there and looked at each other for a minute and decided, oh heck, why the hell not…until we got to this stream. We tried several ways to cross it, but the rocks had algae on them which made them very slippery. Now, I’m sure the die-hard trail runners (like the guys that helped us out) would’ve just ran right through the freezing cold stream getting both of their feet wet to get to the other side, but I just wasn’t there yet. Neither was Reds. We looked at our map and decided to find another path – one that was not marked “Extremely Difficult.”
We found the white trail, “Land of Promise” and followed that back to where we started. The white trail was GREAT! We were actually able to run most of it and you know what…it was fun!!! So while the red trail got a thumbs down from me, the white trail got a thumbs up!
It took us an hour and 24 minutes to go less than 4 miles, but I have to tell myself this is not the end of a journey…it’s the beginning. As we were out on our run today, we talked about how difficult it was for us, but we kept reminding ourselves that it was difficult to train for a marathon when we started out. It’s always hard in the beginning…this is why you train! We will teach our bodies how to maneuver in this new terrain and we will get stronger. This will get easier and we will look back on day 1 (or pre-day 1) and see how far we came.
And months from now when I look back, I hope the answer to my question “Oh crap, what did I get myself into?” is, “I got myself into an amazing experience and completed another remarkable journey.”
My legs are sore and tired. It’s been a long active holiday weekend. With a workout with a personal trainer followed by 10 mile run on Friday, then 8 hours of moving a friend from a third floor condo with no elevator to another third floor condo yesterday, then today’s run (or more like climb), I think I’ll need to rest up for a couple of days. I have to remind myself that I’m still in marathon recovery from Philly and I need to make sure I let my body rest and recover.
I’ll start by jumping (or hobbling) into an Epsom salt bath 🙂