Friday, March 19, 2010

Bayou "Trail" Adventure/Run

I work in South Louisiana. South of New Orleans, in Lafourche (La-Foosh) Parrish, is a little town on Bayou Lafourche called Galliano. Near Galliano, is the Airport I live and work at while on the job. Well, being that we are on a short tether, I don't get to venture far from our base very often. We have to get creative with ways to entertain ourselves. Today I was afforded the opportunity to ride shotgun to Houma, LA for a coworker's errands. This was my first time in Houma outside of the Airport there, and I was pleased to find a smidgen of history and fun there. It was nice to be away from home-base for second. It was a beautiful day, and the drive there took us through some really deep swamp country. I enjoyed the few minutes of countryside between the normal shacks, bayous, dry docks full of rusty boats, and overgrown farmland. S. Louisiana is a different world from the rest of the country.

After we returned from that little excursion, we decided it was a fine day unload a few boxes or 12 gauge bird shot on some clay targets. 5 of us went through a box and a half of targets, and three boxes of shells. It wasn't a giant amount, but i hadn't had a chance to really shoot since I was a kid, and it felt really good to put some shot on some clays. I even got to shoot a .410 gauge! I had never shot one before. That is a fun little gun.

With limited exercise facilities (read: none), i have to get creative with my workouts. I usually jump rope, hang rings from a tree, and do various functional movements with 5 gallon water jugs. Running is always included in there as well, but I don't run as much as I could or should to build my distance. It is so hard for me to get motivated to pound pavement just for the sake of running if I can get my workouts somewhere else. After reading Born to Run by Christopher Mcdougall, I decided I wanted to try and enjoy running. I might train for an ultra marathon one day, but I doubt it. I just don't want to hate running anymore.
I almost didn't workout at all. I was sitting on the couch and was looking for the end of the Internet again when i stumbled across an interview with Barefoot Ted about his experiences running, mostly from the book, and it led me to a YouTube video about the Sans people (also in Born to Run) filming their persistence hunt. I won't delve too far into that discussion (I'll Save it for Tomorrow), but it got my ass off the couch, and out to complete a workout. The idea was just to run a couple of miles to warm up for a ball-busting High Intensity Interval Training workout full of Constantly Varied Functional Movements, but I decided to go on an adventure. I ran about 200 yards, turned around, grabbed my phone with headphones, my generic CamelBak, and took off with metal music blasting in my ears. There is no avoiding the pavement for portions of runs around here, but the area is abound with Primal Fitness obstacles. I ran until the road ends and kept going. I ran on trails, I threw heavy stones. I jumped over streams. I climbed over levees and rock piles. I chucked re-bar like a javelin. I ran through stands of trees. I walked when I was out of breath, ran when I wanted to get somewhere, I jumped when I needed to, I HAD A BLAST. I felt like a kid exploring his surroundings. I didn't run for time, and I didn't feel like it was torture. I don't know how far i ran, and I don't care. I could have gone longer, but the sun was setting, and I needed to be back in case we got called out.
My music died in the middle of the run, and i lost some motivation to keep moving, sure. However it led to a new discovery. The sound of the wildlife at dusk. The birds and frogs and crickets were all coming to life around the time I was heading back along the canal. The Airport maintenance folks had just mowed this week, so it wasn't hacking through jungle for a mile to get back. It afforded me the delight of running off-road next to the canal. I actually got to enjoy the serenity of nature and the enjoyment of a run at the same time. This was the reason I wanted to get off the road so bad. It was another beautiful sunset to boot. I wish I could have taken a hundred pictures, or made a workout vid to show how fun it was, but I only had my cell phone (no service). I snapped a picture along the canal as the sun was setting.

But what about snakes, and alligators, and mosquitoes you ask? Well, it is still chilly at night, and the water temps are still below 60F in most places; so the snakes are holed up at the end of the day, and the gators are still in hibernation. I am vigilant not to corner a rattlesnake or a water moccasin, nonetheless. Snakes usually get out of your way anyway. The only casualties of the day were a shoe stuck in the mud when my foothold broke through into the bog on a leap across a drainage ditch, and a few mosquito bites when I stopped to take the picture. It will be more challenging when the weather warms up and the heavy summer air sets in, but I still look forward to more of these adventure runs. They are a great way to break up the monotony. It was so Primal, and so fun to just act like a kid and have some fun.

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