Rock Your Terrain
As an athlete, it is essential to have confidence. Without confidence, there is no risk-taking, no first steps into unknown territory. But from confidence, can stem hubris: excessive pride, egotism.
I admit, I have a bit of an ego. I think I can do it all, and do it successfully. This confidence has helped me accomplish many things, but it has also led me into less than desirable situations. I have noticed that these situations usually involve three specific things: water, wildlife, and weather.
Never assume you can ignore the power of any of these elements when adventuring.
The first time I hit the desert trails, I thought I'd be fine without my water bottle. Generally, if you are running for an hour or less, you can do without; but one wrong turn, and I was past my hour limit feeling dehydrated and anxious in the setting sun.
You don’t want to be in this situation, especially in the desert. Even on cloudy days, it is dry, and before you know it, your eyes are scanning the blazing horizon for an oasis.Even if the extra weight can be a pain, I now humbly bow to the power of water.
My first encounter with javelinas occurred one early morning. Javelinas are wild boars akin to Pumbaa from "The Lion King" with javelin-shaped tusks. I naively trotted through the Arizona brush, snapping photos and videos of these strange creatures. I later learned they are quite vicious. Attacks are not uncommon.
Cacti attacks are not uncommon either.The worst are the cholla. They may look cute, but their “fuzzy” looking barbs will doggedly attach to your skin and clothes, leaving you sitting in the dust trying to pick them off.
So be on the lookout. Whether its javelinas, rattlesnakes, mountain lions or mountain bikers I would advise leaving the earbuds behind. Stay on the trails and try your best to learn your environment’s unfriendly flora and fauna.
In places like New England and Colorado, you have no idea what could be heading your way, as they say, “If you don’t like the weather wait five minutes.”
There have been sunny days that have ended in hailstorms, where I was left sprinting and shivering towards shelter. Now, I am all about extra layers, even if I have to shed them mid-run.
To rock the trails, you must know your terrain. I try to prepare as best I can for all situations, and I make sure my phone is with me. With water, knowledge, and a lifeline there is the potential to avoid worst-case scenarios even in extreme environments.