Day two on Monhegan.
Despite the stressful travel the day before; despite the wine and sweet sound of the early morning ocean, my legs woke me up at 6am ready to run. Somewhere in my psyche I had planned on this. There is nowhere else on earth I love to run. Having said that, I must admit this: there is nowhere else on earth I DON’T want to be seen running. It’s like this: I grew up here. Everyone knows me. I’m not a runner in their eyes. Seeing me jog my way through town raises eyebrows. Real or not, I imagine this. I see the smirk on every face.
Getting out the door for this run took me forever. I need to find my favorite socks (Wrights, lime green). I need to find my iPod (a defense against tourists and people wanting to say hello). I need to wear the right clothes to be seen in town since I must. This is no small decision. I’m sure seeing me run through town is like watching a lifelong vegetarian gnaw on a gristly rib bone. It’s a strange and unsettling sight.
Finally, Finally! I headed out and one song later I was gliding past the church, the post office, the rope shed. Then I could breathe a sigh of relief. I saw no one I knew.
By the time I got to Dead Man’s Cove I was in my element. Myself & moi could relax. This is my favorite part of the run. The hard packed dirt road is mottled in dark shade while shafts of silvery sunlight beam through the canopy of green trees. Everything is silent. You can almost forget you are on an island less than two miles long. There is a stillness in the air. Even the surf sounds distant.
I turned up the trail to Blackhead. It starts off wide and easy to navigate. The roots aren’t as tricky or trippy. What I didn’t count on was the heavy rainfall the island has had in the last three weeks. The trails turned muddy and completely mosquito infested. I ran a quarter of a mile sucking my shoes out of the muck and swatting my legs, face and arms to no avail. I’m sure I looked pathetic. The sweat that ran down my neck was like sweet nectar to the blood suckers.
Admitting Blackhead defeat (no cliff reward for me) I turned around and headed back into dreaded town. My pace slowed. I’m sure I dragged my feet. I didn’t want to come back through so soon. I knew the community was waking up. Dog walkers. Bird gawkers. Lawn mowers. Shop keepers. Truck drivers. Artists. I knew they would all be out and about. I had one last trick up my sleeve. Hills.
Wharf. Horn’s. Trailing Yew. A quick stab at each and then I ran home. Wharf was easy. Horn’s kicked my ass. Trailing Yew was an all-out bastard because I confronted smiley people coming down while I was struggling up.
In the end I ran for 45 minutes. Don’t care about distance. Don’t care about speed. Don’t care about much except to say I didn’t embarrass myself and I conquered the bully hills.