Sunday, June 12, 2011

Run With Me

"If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten."  -Anthony Robbins

Today was a "step back" week in the husband's training plan and since I've been a little under the weather of late, I decided to back off the mileage on my weekly long run as well, so we decided to hit the trails.  On the way out the door, I impulsively grabbed my camera thinking it would be fun to snap a few pictures along the way. As I headed out on the trail, the idea for this post began to take shape, so in the interest of doing something a little different today, I'm inviting you to go for a (virtual) run with me.  So, lace up your virtual running shoes, grab a bottle of water and let's get moving!

Standing at the Trail Head

As we set off, it's about 56 degrees, there's a light breeze and the sky is overcast.  When it comes to running, in my opinion, the weather doesn't get much better than this.  Today, we'll be running the 5 mile "Green Loop".

Almost immediately we're on a relatively flat trail, surrounded by an avenue of towering trees, and the husband has moved out in front of us.  (This is the last we'll see of him for 5 miles.)

About a half mile in, the trail turns and we start climbing our first real hill of the day.

It looks insanely steep (and it kind of is), but just take your time, breathe and you'll make it to the top.  Did I mention that it's pretty much a series of rolling hills just like this until we get to Mile 2?  Trust me, it's not that bad.

Oops!  Look out for random tree limbs!

Woo hoo!  We've made it 1 mile!  I kind of want to stop and rest on that bench too, but let's keep going  We've got a bunch of hills to tackle.

As we make our way to Mile 2 (and the end of the constant rolling hills, the forest on either side of us is really dense and the landscape drops off steeply on either side of the trail.

Yay!  Mile 2!

Around Mile 2.5 we come upon the Pinewoods Campground.  It's a little strange to be running this close to people's campsites.  I know that I wouldn't be a fan of being this exposed to a trail at a campsite, but seeing the tents and smelling the campfires is reminding me that I need to plan a camping trip soon.  What about you?  Do you like to camp?  By now, the smell of whatever they're cooking has whafted over the trail and it smells good.  I'm getting hungry, so we should probably push on.

Soon enough, all the sounds and smells from the campground are gone and we're running down a relatively flat expanse of trail, once again surrounded by towering trees.  I think this may be one of my favorite sections of this trail, both in terms of beauty and terrain!  I like flat ground...a lot, so let's pick up the pace a little.

We come upon this marker.

We could turn left and cut this run down to 4 miles or we can turn right and make it the full 5.  By now, I'm feeling warmed up, tight muscles have loosened and my body is fully engaged in this run,  (hopefully yours is too), so I think we need to take a right.

Before you know it, we're at Mile 3 and we've been getting progressively faster!

Even if you're in the mood to sit down and rest, I don't think you want to rest here:

Around Mile 3.5, we have the option of running the Observation Loop (and tacking on another 1/2 mile).

I think we should save that for another day.  There's only a mile and a half to go.  Have you noticed that there's a serious lack of wildlife out here today?  I haven't seen so much as a chipmunk or a squirrel.  Odd.

We climb another steep hill and just as we top out, we're greeted by this giant pile of pooch:

Holy crap, that dog is big!  I crouched down to take this picture (after getting permission from his owner), but when he was standing right in front of me, his head was as high as my chest!  Fortunately, according to his owner, he's really just a 200+ pound slobbering teddy bear.  I can definitely attest to the slobbery part as he was all about getting his ears scratched by a sweaty runner while slobbering all over the front of my jacket!

Okay, break time's over.  Back to running.

 You already know we're going with the green!

Looks pretty benign, right?
Or not.

It's just looks muddy, I promise.  We're at 4 Miles (and of course I forgot to take a picture of my Garmin)!

One mile to go and we're confronted by this sign:

I've only run this trail once before, but if I remember correctly, we're in for some short, steep, uphills followed by plunging, rocky downhills.

WTF?  Where'd that come from?

We climb over the first part and squeeze under the second. Time to really pick up the pace.  The first uphill is a tough one, but the momentum from the descent pushes us up the next hill with ease.  The pace has really ramped up. Everything's a beautiful blur.  Tired doesn't even enter into the equation anymore. We're practically flying!

  One more sharp turn and this is in front of us:

The trail is flat again and as soon as we take that little curve up ahead, we're back to the trail head.  We're done!

Distance: 5.0 miles
Time: 53:45
Avg. Pace: 10:44
Splits (time per mile):
  • Mile 1: 11:12
  • Mile 2: 11:51
  • Mile 3: 10:17
  • Mile 4: 10:41
  • Mile 5: 9:40
Thanks for (virtually) running with me today, it was fun!

No comments: