What type of people go on Rogue Expeditions running trips? It seems that everyone worries that they'll either be too slow, or too fast. That the mileage will be too difficult, or not challenging enough. That they'll be too old, or too young. That the other people will be super serious running geeks who talk about nothing but training, or that the other people will all be there to take it reeeeeeally easy. That they'll be the only person who doesn't know anyone else.
In truth, there is no "type." The trips attract all sorts of backgrounds, all sorts of ability levels and all sorts of motivations for being there, and the beautiful thing is that it works for just about everyone! To prove it, over the coming weeks we will be interviewing a number of our runners about their running background, pre-trip hesitations, favorite trip memories and most surprising revelations.
Today we are talking to Stelios and Andrea, a couple who hail, respectively, from Athens, Greece and McFarland, WI (but who currently live in Portland, OR):
Which trip did you do and when?
Run Patagonia, Chile in February 2017
Describe your running background:
S: Casual runner since late college. Completed the Philadelphia, Fargo, Richmond, and Baltimore marathons in an attempt to justify consuming ridiculous amounts of food and beer at my increasingly advancing age. Time marches on.
A: I ran track and cross country in high school, fatted-out during college, and then started running again in grad school. We've run a few marathons but recently have focused on running for enjoyment in beautiful places and in shorter, less painful races.
How did you end up on that trip? What led you to the decision?
S: We decided to do the trip because we always thought it would be great to explore that part of the world and we never thought we could pull off organizing all of the logistics to go and actually have fun.
A: I think I saw a Rogue photo on Instagram when I got sucked into a worm hole looking at scenic photos of the Towers. I have always wanted to go to Patagonia, but I didn't have any idea of how to plan a trip. After I read about the trip on the website, I knew it would be a good fit for us.
Any hesitations or uncertainties going into it?
S: Coming off winter months in the northeast and Pacific northwest (where we had just moved to) our conditioning was sub-optimal to say the least.
A: The trip crept up so fast on us because we had just moved. We were scrambling to find our gear and go out and buy what we needed. My Spanish skills are also embarrassingly bad.
Did you know anyone else in the group beforehand? How was it traveling with a group of strangers?
S: We did not know anyone, but it didn't matter! Everyone was super friendly and as excited as we were to explore, run, eat, drink, and have some fun!
A: We did not know anyone else in the group beforehand. We had a great group! As an introvert, open bar on the boat the first few days helped. Everyone was really flexible and low-maintenance (sharing bathrooms, sleeping quarters, etc. was no big deal). We are running Hood 2 Coast this summer with some fellow Patagonia travelers!
What was your favorite run and why?
S: My favorite run was the run to the lake, going up and down hills, running surrounded by guanacos, and with the torres del paines in the background.
A: Honestly, I cannot pick a favorite day. Every hike or run was had amazing scenery and was memorable in its own way. The glacier hike was amazing, as was the run to Lake Azure and the final hike to the Towers.
Food is a huge part of any travel experience. What was your favorite thing that you ate?
S: Eating the lamb raised in the fields of the tierra del fuego and visiting the ranch was an incredible, unforgettable experience.
A: Every meal after a long day of running/hiking was my favorite! We went into it thinking we might lose some weight, but we ended up eating SO.MUCH.LAMB. Merken on everything! Pisco on iceberg ice! Sack lunches filled with surprise sandwiches!
Both travel and running have their ups and downs. What was your most challenging moment or issue during the trip? How did you overcome it?
S: We did not have any major issues during the trip. The challenge was to detox from our hectic, overbearing lives, unplug, and take it down a notch to be able to take it all in. It takes a while and some effort to shift into a mode where you're not anticipating the next step, as if a trip is another part of your daily routine, and instead you feed your will to feel the moments and embrace the random and whatever may come.
A: It felt strange going on a vacation after we had just moved across the country. Also, travel down was not ideal: 42 hours of travel time and 4 connecting flights, an ice storm in Portland the morning we were leaving, wearing winter coats and huge backpacks and sprinting across LAX terminals, sleeping in the Lima airport. Deep breaths. But none of that mattered after we arrived in Punta Arenas and the trip got started.
What surprised you the most about the experience?
S: The sensory experience of feeling and exploring the terrain through running overcame my body's lack of preparation and stamina. I was able to run more than I expected simply because I was so hungry to see and feel it all.
A: It was a completely different experience to go on a trip that was organized down to the last detail by someone else. There was nothing to worry about or plan. When you plan a trip for yourself, to some degree, you need to be thinking about what is coming up next and logistics. In this case, every moment was truly enjoyable.
Runcation vs a race: what do you think are some of the key similarities and differences? Or are they even comparable?
S: Both have their merits, but I think a runcation (even though I am not a fan of the name) is a more holistic experience and an excellent way to discover new places and meet new people.
A: Runcation >>race. I'll never win a race or even my age group, so I'm always just competing against myself. This vacation wasn't about competing or trying to get better, it was about savoring the scenery, the company, the food, the experience.
Sum up your Rogue Expeditions experience in one sentence:
S: An amazing experience that will make you reconsider your approach to all other travels in the future and make you think: wouldn't it be better if I were running?
A: When can we go on another trip?
This is from the Tool song Lateralus:
With my feet upon the ground I lose myself
between the sounds and open wide to suck it in.
I feel it move across my skin.
I'm reaching up and reaching out.
I'm reaching for the random or whatever will bewilder me.
Whatever will bewilder me.
And following our will and wind we may just go where no one's been.
We'll ride the spiral to the end and may just go where no one's been.
Spiral out. Keep going...