During my 6 plus-hour solo run in Miyamit yesterday, I caught myself thinking about what other places I can run in. Even during my quick climb in Arayat the day before, it was the same thought. That is not to say I am bored in both places except that it would be interesting to visit other trails to get in some run, enjoy and absorb the scenery and be with friends. A change of scenery is always welcome.
There are other places, perhaps even better, for sure out there but it is always the question of convenience for me. I'd particularly love to train in the highlands of Kayapa NV, venue of Hardcore 100 miles if only I had the power to teleport. Right now, Miyamit and Arayat are the best places I can train in because it is closer to home. Sure I can travel for several hours just to get in a run. Once or two occasions are okay but for someone who trains for ultras, it becomes a question of sustainability as well. Can you sustain it in the long run? For months? Every weekend? Priorities must also be taken into consideration especially if you have a family, kids and a day job to care of.
In Arayat, I can be back home for breakfast (while kids are still asleep) if I am not doing a double climb. Otherwise, I'd be back for lunch. In Miyamit, it is always around lunch time depending on what time of the start and distance. What is yours?
There are several factors I would consider to take on a trail outside of my perimeter or comfort zone:
1. SCENERY - It should be away from civilization and offers a fantastic view of the surrounding natural environment. I mean what is the point of going to trails when you hear and smell modern society (which includes pollution, car noise and whatnot)? We will always be drawn to natural setting. I have particularly found this to be true when I brought my family for the first time to Miyamit Falls a couple of weeks ago. Despite walking (except for some "Pa, please carry me" moments) for the first time for more than 4 hilly kilometers starting from the 2nd hill to view deck (our SUV could not take on the rough and steep part leading to View Deck), to Falls and back, my 3 year old boy was asking me the next day, when are we going back. That was to my utter surprise. I am really grateful that our outing that weekend left a good memory in them. I secretly wish all of my kids will enjoy going to the mountains or any natural environment as opposed to malls, theme parks, etc. Actually, my deepest wish is they would also take up mountain running, then ultra :) That said, I will continue to expose and bring them to more natural environment. This reminds me of our night outing in the nearby hills way back in 2011 and their earliest race in 2009 :)
Some liked it, others complained :)
The deal was to carry my youngest (Marcus) when it was too steep. View deck on the uppermost part of the pix.
Sophia and Marcus. Falls in the background.
I had to be the sweeper and to watch over them. Trail leading to the Falls.
Frolicking in the water. It was cold!
|Patricia and Nathan enjoying the cool crisp cascading water.|
The hard climb back up from the Falls
Break! :) This is the climb after view deck to the car.
2. Distance - There should be enough open trail to get in a long run. Loop, out-and-back, one-way, point-to-point, it does not matter. Perhaps at least 22K. No leeches. Enough distance to be alone for hours to give such time to ponder and meditate.
3. Elevation - Hills/mountains give you the leg strength like no other and it adds variety to an otherwise boring run.
Trees, dense foliage, water source, river crossings, cool weather are just bonuses.
Jon - wishing everyone HAPPY YULETIDE!!!
H1 - I just realized that this race is already in February. Given the limited time to train, the proper approach for now is smart training and maximize the time spent on the trail.