Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Forced To Run

I got asked how I got into the trail running thing.  I suppose there should be a story about how I read Born To Run and found it the most inspiring thing ever.  I should talk about how I felt kinship with the natives, how I learned about the importance of forefoot form, and how I want to become a vegan who drinks far less.
However, the real story is probably more interesting and yet less interesting.  I work in the Capitol complex, which is about 1.5 miles from my domicile, taking the streets.  Even before I started running, I had the habit of taking long hikes home from work through the mountains to the south of town.  It just felt good to be outside during the summertime, and was convenient to take the long way home.
The problem with living where I do is that there is one direction from where I live, up.  Anyone who lives on a street with the name Gulch will sympathize.  Also, I live in downtown, which means a lot of traffic crossings, and Helena is not friendly for runners.  Something about seeing the human form expressing it’s beauty really riles up the rednecks in their big trucks, whose last fast movement involved gulping down pisswater beer.
Initially, I started running up sections of Mount Helena.  The big myth about Mount Helena is that one starts at the parking lot, hikes hard to the H, and heads back down full of braggadocio about the accomplishment.  The problem is that Mount Helena is 1200 feet tall, and that manages to miss both the first 400 and last 400 feet.  So, I started running from my place halfway up the mountain (where the trails would lead back down) and getting into that.  I liked being out on the trail, and not dealing with traffic.  The downside was dealing with piles of bad behaving afternoon hikers and their bad behaving dogs’ piles.  Plus, although there was plenty of trail, there was the issue of dealing with traffic coming to an fro the trail.
So, I leaned how to power over nine and a half miles and twenty five hundred feet of elevation gain.  The best part about trail running is that one feels the ebb and flow of the uphill.  One feels like the king of the mountain, not even catchable by bicycle.  It’s an amazing place to be.

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