Mountains vs Oceans

What is it about a landscape that draws people in? When it comes to where people want to live or spend most of their time, it seems to usually divide people into two categories: mountain people or ocean people. While Cody and I are in the self proclaimed former category, we find ourselves studying at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Right in the heart of the sea spray, surfer bums and coastal hills. It was hard to get used to. As I ran past the hundredth sage bush, I longed to have the feeling of tripping over roots in a dense pine forest. “The ocean bluff trail is the best place to run around here,” chimed my ocean-y friends. I tried the run, over and over again, but it never seemed to rub me the right way. Don’t get me wrong, running along a bluff as the waves crash and erode the land below you and the California fog envelops your stride can be pretty darn cool. I can’t deny that I’ve found some great places along the ocean and thoroughly enjoyed myself during those runs. But I miss the mountains. That smell of needles coating the ground, the river cutting magnificent canyons and leaving ridges that were meant for running. Even without the trees, when the rock turns sharp and jagged and the mountain stretches up almost endlessly, I eat that stuff up. I feel at home.
Mountain running isn’t perfect. It kills me to watch Cody spring up the hills like an antelope as I weeze and shuffle, falling further and further behind. It can also be incredibly scary. That dense forest that I said I loved so much? It can hide big, scary, i-want-to-eat-you creatures (whether they’re real or all in my head is a different matter). And those beautiful, landscape shaping rivers? Those can have a downside too. Not everyone likes to enjoy the water for the same purposes.
Obviously, I very much agree with Kristen. Actually I think I’m a bit more nuts about it, but she covered my thoughts really well (scares me sometimes, we think too similarly).
On the other hand, pretty much everything Kristen lists as a downside I see as just another reason for loving the mountains! Of course if I’m faster on a hill, I won’t be thinking too much about it. I definitely wouldn’t call my movements gazelle-like though! (what she doesn’t see after I “bound” away while trying to impress her is me wheezing and shuffling myself, just a little bit further up the trail. Does that make me an impressive human, one worthy of courting the female in my life? Mmmmm, no…probably just an asshole. But I’ll keep doing it, just blame my inner Manliness!). And as for those scary animals and sketchy people, well you’ll learn about those runs eventually. Two stories from runs on or near the Western States Trail. You’ll hear about why we were so lucky no one was “working.” You’ll also find out why my left shoe coming untied probably saved both of our lives. But as I said, that’s later. Until then, I have one motto that keeps me loving the mountains and wanting more: “If all goes well, it’s a good day. But if things get shitty, then at least it’ll be a damn good story.”

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