I’ll be the first to admit it. I was scared to run Monhegan. People have broken legs just letting their dogs out for a pee. One wrong step on rocky ground and it’s way downhill from there. I’m not kidding. Three years ago, a friend of mine was airlifted off the island when she suffered a compound fracture in her yard. She was, you guessed it, letting the dog out. We have no street lights. We have no smooth pavement. Most importantly, we do not have emergency services. None to speak of. A friend of mine won’t bring her diabetic husband for a visit in case he has an episode. A simple fall-on-your-ass during a run could turn into an off-your-feet-for-a-very-long-time
scenario nightmare. Imagine my embarrassment if I, an island girl (practically a native to boot) hurt myself like that.
It took forever for me to just to simply run on Monhegan. The common act of being seen doing something physical was something to overcome.
It took me just as long to brave the end of every road, to take each one to the very end. Finding twelve miles in a 4.5 square mile area is tough, especially when two thirds of that same area is wilderness.
As time went on I became a better me. Confidence conquered. It was time for me to consider the trails. Take that initial fear and mushroom it into something monumental. I have this playlist of nothing but female artists so with Sia, Christina, Natalie, Alicia, Kelly, Sara, P!nk, Carrie, Adel, Alessia, Katy, Gaga, Tori, Elle, Rachel & ZZ I put on my big girl pants and we became women on the run.
This last trip to the island was 16 miles of gingerly jumping previous boundaries. The time before I ran the wide, flat trails to completion but didn’t feel safe on the more technical trails. This time I wanted more than half way. For those of you who don’t know the geography of 04852 this won’t make a lot of sense, but on this trip I completed
- an unmarked Lobster Cove to Josh Mostel (via Jamie Wyeth) trail.
- the Burnt Head (#4) to Underhill (#3) loop
- Whitehead (#7)
- Red Ribbon (#9) – my favorite
- Evergreen (#15)
- Pebble Beach (the new #14)
- Alder (#6) sort of…
So. An explanation of Alder. I was coming back from a #9 to #7 loop when I spotted #6. I knew from an earlier hike this would take me to the base of the hill to the cemetery and since I always stopped at dad’s grave on every run I thought I would shortcut through #6 instead of going the usual lighthouse route. Like most of the other trails, #6 was brand new to me and I had no idea how the trail went. I was cruising along, enjoying this last run of vacation. As I said, cruising, but carefully watching my feet as well. The weather had turned damp so pine needles and naked roots were especially slippery and I needed to really watch where I was going; to plan my footfalls carefully. I was watching too well because before I knew it I was on a collision course with another runner. Completely unexpected. In the entire time I have been running on Monhegan I have only encountered one other runner (back in July) and we were both on a very wide and safe path. No danger there. This time this guy was watching his feet, like moi. We were both coming fast. He and I looked up at the last possible second and barely swerved to avoid one another. I found myself jetting down an unmarked? offshoot path. Embarrassingly, I had no idea where I was going at all. Blindly I just continued to run down this unmarked path. Was I still on #6? I had no clue. For once I was lost in my hometown.
I ended up in the backyard of my rental cottage, ironically enough. And even though I wanted to put in another solid mile, I called it quits. The near accident with another runner shook me a little and when I took that serve off the path I knew I came down too hard on my left foot. Something hasn’t felt right since.
But, what has felt right was the desire to go back and tackle more trails. Odd though, trails 2, 8, and 13 don’t exist. Maybe I should make my own?