Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 127, February 2020 - Page 35

then you’ll head down to breakfast. Boiled eggs everywhere you look! Trail (Mis)Adventures By Carla Lea Farina LET ME ENTERTAIN YOU This is the first instalment of a new column on trail running that is meant to make you laugh, but also to inspire you to strap on a pair of trail shoes and hit the trails. S o, when Modern Athlete Editor Sean Falconer suggested that I write a column for the magazine called ‘Trail Misadventures,’ I thought it was a splendid idea. Sure, absolutely, of course... challenge accepted! However, I’m not sure he was quite ready for my bout of enthusiasm, as he quickly seemed to change his mind, jokingly saying, “Hmmm, maybe not. You seem to have such horrifying misadventures that you may dissuade our readers from getting into trail running, and that’s the exact opposite of what our magazine is about.” I told him not to worry, that I am the most persuasive human being on the planet, and that I’ll convince all his readers to embark on a trail running adventure. That they will certainly want to become trail runners. They just won’t want to go trail running with me! That’s because when I say I have trail misadventures, boy do I really mean misadventures. From cracking ribs to getting stuck on rock faces, or running 20 extra kilometres in a race, I’ve had it all. But under no circumstances should this put you off trail running. I mean, almost having to be rescued by helicopter isn’t all that bad, is it? Ok, maybe it is, but that’s very unlikely to happen to you! Instead, do you know what will happen to you if you tackle a trail race? Let me tell you. Something Special Awaits You’ll wake up early – it’s quite likely a head lamp start in the dark – and you’ll probably be woken up by some very loud ridiculous song or soundtrack, like ‘Good Morning, Vietnam.’ You’ll put on your race gear – hopefully it’s good weather – and All your fellow runners will be there with the same butterflies in their stomachs, and just as the mumble of athletes gradually starts getting louder, you’ll hear the announcement... “Runners, please make your way to the starting pen.” You need the bathroom. Again. Is there time? You make it! And then it’s 5... 4... 3... 2... 1, and you’re off. You will run with your head lamp for an hour or two, and you’ll climb, climb and then climb some more. Your legs will start to complain, then slowly build up to shouting loudly in protest. If you’re me, you’ll trip and fall over multiple times, not to mention somehow get horribly lost... But you’re not me, so you’ll be fine. And then... you’ll be at the top of the climb, and you’ll see the sunrise overlooking the world, with thousands of different colours and smells overloading your senses. At that exact moment the trail bug will bite. That is when you will know why you run trail! Maybe I’m an adrenaline junky, but flying down the hills is the most exhilarating sensation. On the way down, you’ll fall over a few more times. (Well, me, not you... as I said, you’ll be fine!) At times, going at full speed, it may feel like the last thing you’ll ever do – and you will read in future columns, I have had many such moments that came close to being the last thing I have ever done – but trust me, you will love that feeling of low flying. Time to Explore So, why trail run? For the beauty. For the highs. And believe it or not, even for the lows. There are going to be tough moments out there, but you will get through them. You will learn from them, you will come out stronger for them... and the highs will far outweigh the lows, anyway. You will be a changed person once the trail bug has bitten. You just have to give it a chance, because there is nothing better! So, please remember, when you read about my misadventures in coming columns, it’s not to put you off trail running. There couldn’t be a bigger ambassador or endorser of the sport! No, I want to share my stories to make you laugh, while also providing you with some trail running tips through my misadventures. I get lost, I fall, I run into trees, and I laugh at myself a lot. Sometimes I have podium finishes, sometimes I have DNFs, but every time there is a story to tell. More importantly, I want to inspire you to get out there and experience that magical feeling of losing yourself in another world. So, I would love it if you joined me on this new adventure of sharing my stories – and keep in mind that the misadventures make the best stories! ABOUT THE AUTHOR: While Carla’s ‘day job’ is Head Tennis Coach and Director of Tennis at Game Set Match Tennis in Johannesburg, her second love is trail running, which she tackles with an unquenchable thirst for adventure, a never-say-die attitude, and a healthy sense of humour (which often sees her laughing at the misadventures that befall her on the trails). 35