Trail running is the zen in my life right next to gardening, specifically growing vegetables. For the past week I’ve been blessed with the time and good weather to do both activities. I might be exhausted but no one ever died and said “I wish I had slept more”. That won’t be on the urn at my funeral, that’s for certain.
I live in northern Michigan, about 75-80 miles south of the Mackinac Bridge that connects the two peninsulas. My area is loaded with great single track trails for running, biking, hiking, cross country skiing, and any thing else you want to do. Bird watching? Whole lot of that going on. Kirtland’s Warbler makes it’s home right in the forests around my town.
Here’s a picture of a hemlock forest I ran through a week ago on my first trail run of the season.
Isn’t that incredible! What was possibly more incredible was the lack of bugs. Spring in the north woods brings out all the creepy crawlies, biting buggers, and gnawing gnats. But, if you get out there early enough in the spring, you hit the perfect window of opportunity and I did just that. By mid June the bugs taper off a bit and by early July it’s a real treasure to be out there for a few hours each weekend.
Since this is my first blog post at LHRL I’ll give you some back ground and then we’ll forge onward. I’m 47 and I’ve lived in Michigan my whole life. I adore travel and specifically travel to Europe. If there is an outdoor activity I can do, I’m outside. Being in the house or in my office sucks the life from my soul but there are times it must be done. By profession, I’m a forester. I work for the state natural resources department as a forest specialist and do a ton of work with the folks who cut down trees and those that turn them into boards and wood products. I love my job very much and I know I’m very lucky. I have a grown son, nearly 21 now, living and working 100% on his own and finding his path in life. I’m not the typical runner because like many of you reading this, I love strength training and being stronger but I also love running. I’m also overweight by about 20-25 lbs. Peri-menopause has not been an easy thing to deal with this past 3 years. Ladies over 40, I know you can relate. This leads us to the part where you all get to follow along with me on something besides just trail running and strength training: food/nutrition/fueling properly!
I’m signed up to run the inaugural event at Big Hill Pond Walking Tall 25K/50K event in SW Tennessee in mid October and I am committed to training and dropping weight between now and then. I have My Fitness Pal on my iPhone and loaded it with my macro targets, Strava updates from my Polar running watch, and the LHRL app for my programming to keep my strength work on target. I have ADD and I’m Type A personality so having all this stuff all over this place makes me a bit crazy/crazier but I bought a Fitbook to keep it all in one place each week. It’ll be a succint look ahead and look back as I make progress or not make progress. They sell them at Amazon if you’re interested. I’m a tactile learning because I’m OLD and that means pencil and paper and real books are my go-to for learning and cementing things in my brain. Excess weight has always, always, always, been a problem for me but age and hormone shifts have exacerbated the problem drastically. Time to get this situation on a positive path!
Do you have a fall trail race picked out yet? Get Google going and sign up for Big Hill Pond – all the cool kids will be there. You know you want to. There is a cap on registrants so don’t wait too long to decide or it may be full and the expectation is that it WILL fill up. Many are even camping for the event at the state park where the event starts and ends. I’m not keen on tent camping so my trail running girlfriend and I are living it up at a local hotel 10 miles away. I’m old and soft and have 2 disc herniations in my spine. I like cushy beds.
Let’s get the summer trail running party rolling! Find your way to the upper Midwest and soak in our gorgeous sunshine, cooler temps, incredible single track trails, and beautiful summer nights by the campfire. Let me know if you need help finding trail races up here if the weather gets too steamy where you are!