Saturday, August 20, 2011

3 miles up, 3 miles down

More like 4 up and 4 down, but that doesn't sound nearly as cool. I found myself back in my element at the On the Rocks Trail Run in York, PA today. And there were literally many Honda Elements in addition to mine in the parking lot. Trail runners are a different breed all together. Much friendlier and much less pretentious than strictly road racers; even the really fast runners are nice. Everyone is just a bit crunchy.

I ran this race in honor of everyone involved in Jumping for Heroes this weekend in Upottery England. JFH is raising money for the Richard Winters Leadership Project which is funding a memorial to be constructed at Ste. Marie-du-Mont in Normandy, France. The memorial will feature Maj. Richard Winters (then captain) and honor all junior officers who served on D-Day. The JFH crew organized a skydive event to raise money for the project and many of the actors who portrayed Winters and the other Easy Company men in the HBO series Band of Brothers are participating. Since I cannot go to England or the L.A. for the stateside jump, I'll continue to support them with donations and telling everyone who will listen about it. Also, this awesome kid is selling wristbands to support the foundation too.

*Sigh* I wish I could just pick up and go places and do cool stuff like that.

While training at Camp Taccoa, GA in the early 1940's, the 506th Infantry regiment of the 101st Airborne Division ran 3 miles up and 3 miles down the nearby Mt. Currahee. They ran the formidable mountain often multiple times per day in full gear. "Currahee" became their rallying cry. I thought of those brave men a lot while I ran. They don't make them like the Greatest Generation anymore.
"Wild Bill" Guarnere and "Babe" Heffron. Two awesome reasons to support Jumping for Heroes

Anyway, back to the run. This was by far the most technical trail I have ever run. I am SO GLAD I did not stick to my goal of running in my Pace Gloves. I would have been out by mile 3. "On the Rocks" was no joke. It was hilly too, and not rolling hills, but sharp ascents and descents that left even the front runners hiking instead of running. Everyone was so friendly and encouraging, telling you to be careful on the upcoming stretch or telling you you CAN keep running up the hill. I miss this in road races where you're more likely to get stomped on or spat on.

Barefoot techniques really helped fight leg fatigue and I only had two near-spills towards the end when it got difficult to pick my feet up enough over the rocks. Trail running for some reason feels easier, even with rough terrain. Maybe it's the fact that you can't see the end.

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