On the island, my workout schedule fundamentally changes since there isn’t a gym or pool to be found. By necessity, mountain and trail running becomes my main form of exercise.
Trail running is nothing like road running. First, you have to keep your focus entirely on the trail ahead of you. There’s an abundance of rocks and roots and other natural obstacles that can easily cause you to sprain an ankle. When I’m running on asphalt, daydreaming is my constant companion and three miles may pass before I come back into the present moment. On the trail, every single step is calculated and focused. Did I mention that there are snakes? Yeah, that definitely keeps my focus sharp.
The other difference is that I’m running at a high elevation, so it’s harder to catch my breath. Two miles becomes the equivalent of six at sea level and since I’m on a mountain, I’m constantly running either uphill or downhill so there isn’t time to catch my breath before I’m charging up another incline.
Whereas road running is mindless, trail running is precise and mentally exhausting. My usual loop is probably about 2.5 miles, but when I return, I feel like I’ve been running for hours. It’s laborious work, but there’s a certain sense of satisfaction to running completely alone in nature. Yup, I’m sweaty and tired, but it feels good.
Of course, I generally carry my cell phone with me so that if I do sprain an ankle or take a tumble down a ravine, I can call my dad to come get me. Safety first!