Busting loose for an 11-mile trail run

“Trail or greenway?” my sister texted Tuesday morning.

I didn’t have any real expectations about Tuesday’s run, other than getting one in. But when Traci suggested the trail, and when it turned out that for once neither one of us had a time crunch, we decided right from the get-go that we’d aim for 2 loops instead of one, even if we had to walk a little.

So how is it that when up til recently even doing one of these 5.6 mile loops seemed grueling, but yesterday it just flew by? Didn’t hurt that it was probably 15 degrees cooler than the day before. But in a way I think simply stretching our goal helped, too. If you say you’re doing one lap, then your mind starts thinking “how much farther” part way through. If you’re aiming for two, that question doesn’t even really come up on the first lap at all.

Another huge factor was that the last section of trail has been significantly upgraded to the point that it’s no longer like running through a swampy ditch. Mentally anticipating this part of the run was always a drain, but now it’s becoming one of our favorite sections, thanks to the addition of some gravel in flood-prone spots.

But I think the biggest key is that we’re really starting to embrace trail running over pavement. It’s a lot less pounding on your legs, and it’s just so much more beautiful, even if we do spend a lot of time scanning the ground for roots, rocks and, in my case, snakes.

“Why is it that when we get near the end of this trail we get these big grins on our faces?” I asked yesterday. “That never happens on the greenway.”

“I think it has something to do with coming out of the woods, versus just being done,” Traci said.

That sounds about right. At any rate, it was nice to crack double digits for the first time in months, with only one short walk break on the second loop.

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