In the winter of 2009, I decided to take up long-distance running in order to become more physically fit. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’ve worked to pound out between two and four miles on a treadmill at least three days a week.
During the same timeframe, one of my best friends, Nolan Soete, took up a similar long distance-running regimen. The only difference is, Soete does all his running activities on a track or on trails, and I concentrate solely on the treadmill.
With the temperature hovering at about 90 degrees on the final day of June, Soete invited me to go for a run at Fort Steilacoom Park in Lakewood. I’ve always loved athletic challenges, so I jumped at the opportunity to test my fitness level outside of my typical setting.
As we began our run on even ground, I discovered my calves were in much more pain then they typically are on the treadmill. My lungs were doing just fine, but my calves and hamstrings were telling me otherwise.
Once I adjusted to the trail after the first mile, we came upon the biggest challenge of our afternoon run — the hill. It consisted of a steep incline that was about 80 yards long.
I decided to sprint up the hill, but the decision to attack the hill wasn’t a wise one.
After about 60 yards of running at full speed, I hit the wall and was barely able to make it thew rest of the way.
“That hill is tough, isn’t it?” Soete asked.
I could barely reply. I just nodded my head in agreement.
By the time we made it back to Soete’s car following the 2 1/2-mile run, we were both dripping with sweat. The combination of scorching hot temperatures, rugged terrain and outdoor running took its toll on me, but I can’t wait to tackle the course again this summer. I’m especially looking forward to the hill.
I have discovered that running outdoors is much more enjoyable than staring at a TV screen and churning out miles on a treadmill.
Sports Editor Shaun Scott can be reached at 253-552-7002 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @herald_shaun.