Straight lines and ovals are most definitely inferior when compared to the nonlinear topography of Terraining (or Runagading as I’ve come to call it), a nature-based relative of the more urban-focused Freerunning. Threading trees, charging up and down hills, coursing over variegated sections of grass and dirt is the ONLY way to run. Treating the park or preserve as an unbounded canvas with which to color and texture creates an aesthetic both inside and out.
Here’s the Kiwanis Loop from the corner soccer field at College & Guadalupe to the top of the single field off Baseline, down along the canal and back to the origin. This circuit offers 2.6 miles of diverse scenery from ballfields and bridges to a man-made lake and canal path on its western border.
I call this Slalom Skying- instead of skiing- because it feels quite uplifting as you rise over hills as they yield elevated perspectives and kinetic energy shifts… and there’s nothing better than hi-fiving a tree as you skirt around its trunk.
And here’s a YouTube rendering of the event:
And the data for the dorks (ME!):
Name: Kiwanis Slalom Skying
Activity type: running
Description: Kiwanis hill threading.
Total distance: 4.17 km (2.6 mi)
Total time: 19:35
Moving time: 19:35
Average speed: 12.78 km/h (7.9 mi/h)
Average moving speed: 12.78 km/h (7.9 mi/h)
Max speed: 22.50 km/h (14.0 mi/h)
Average pace: 4:42 min/km (7:33 min/mi)
Average moving pace: 4:42 min/km (7:33 min/mi)
Fastest pace: 2:40 min/km (4:17 min/mi)
Max elevation: 348 m (1142 ft)
Min elevation: 326 m (1071 ft)
Elevation gain: 56 m (185 ft)
Max grade: 8 %
Min grade: -10 %
Recorded: 11/12/2014 5:39 AM
I’ve run this circuit not nearly enough times. The topography and perspective are those not afforded in the boundaries of a typical neighborhood park. This is freerunning across the entire city, not compartmentalized into any one modality of cityscape.
Beginning at the base of A Mountain, just east of the football stadium, we cut through ASU student parking on our way to the bridge. The bridge is an important metaphysical archetype and this course is special as it crosses two (Rural Road & Mill Avenue) over Tempe Town Lake. From the Rural Road bridge (#1) we divert off of the main pathways into a vacant lot (site of the old Club Rio), undeveloped for more than 10 years now, and shoot diagonally toward the 202 underpass. Just north of here we sneak across a staggered little stream and dive right into Papago.
Serpentine rock design
There are three major rock formations that we pass along our way and the first one is immediately upon us to the right. The second is a short distance ahead and creates a markedly large shadow in the early hours of the morning. The third is a short overpass offering a condescending view toward Curry Road on the right.
Rock #3 first view
Rock #3 second view
From here there’s two mini valleys challenging enough both on the way up and on the way down. I enjoy the quick decision-making in foot placement required to efficiently traverse this topographical shape-shifting. After the final ascent you come into a vagrant-occupied picnic area with a wide greenspace at the corner of Mill & Curry.
The 202, southern border
Mill Avenue Bridge (#2)
From here I head to the 202 underpass and onto the Mill Avenue bridge (#2) toward the final flight upward to the top of A Mountain (also referred to as Hayden Butte) where the full, glorious panorama of this vibrant City of Tempe is unveiled. I usually eat my apple and breathe in the flowing, rarified mountaintop breeze.
Hayden Flour Mill and “A” Mountain
Then I plunge back into sea-level scenery step by step, or rather leaps and bounds as I approach Hayden Flour Mill and then back to the front of ASU’s football stadium. Huff, Humph, harumph…phew! 🙂
Now back to the grind…
The earth chart tracing my route:
There’s a little thing happening in a city near you, or up the block, or in Fanny Mae’s backyard.. It’s called Runagading™ or Terrainmaking™. What you do is stop putting your coin into a building with cardio hamster wheels and stationary strength machines providing an exercise environment with limited sources of creative energy flow and an aggressively judgemental social scene at a semi-unaffordable rate. You run immediately outside, dance, laugh, and sing and cast fate into the wind with an untethered ball.
Hold not the world on a string, but be the kite, ungrounded, ferrying the virulent current.
Play on, my friend, and stay thirsty.. then play on, surfing above thy troubled waters, returning yet again to shore.. and battle.. and love.. and.. and.. oh, for heaven’s sake, March Forth!
ParKourse at the Library
These Proguerams are a creative expression of park space consisting of three components: 1) weight-resistance strength training (jungle gym) 2) basketball/soccer hybrid (ParkCourt) 3) free running (Runagading). This is a template for parks in general and can be modified according to the particular terrain.
Skip the indoor gym, get out and terrain! March Forth!
Now, I’m not saying this outdoor fitness is taking over, but if, as ol’ blue eyes once crooned, you can make it in New York, then you can make it anywhere. And, since the premise of Grass Is Greener Fitness is exercise anywhere and everywhere, I rest my case.
Game on, player!
There was a time when you had to wait to get on the neighborhood court for a pick-up game. Now, an ominous vacancy has swept over these outdoor basketball courts causing this urban outdoorsman to ponder a new sport for which these concrete slabs might be repurposed.
Just ran down to the edge of the continent and touched the great abyss, and was refreshed; a little salt with my pepper. Thank you for being you, San Diego.
*The view from the top of Kate O. Sessions Memorial Park looking out on the bay.
People frequently ask me what is my “secret“ or how often I workout. The truth is no secret. I do NOT workout, I train, and I train hard, with focus and discipline and a sense of self-competition and game-making employed. I wholeheartedly believe in finding enjoyment and sport in the activity rather than a “punch-in, punch-out“ mentality.
Here are some more relevant tips. Stay calm and play on!