An Ode* to Trail Running

*Except not really, ’cause I’m not a poet.

I ran 4 easy miles on the trail today. I didn’t have any major breakthroughs in terms of speed or distance–if anything, I was slowed down by the heat, terrain, and general post-injury out-of-shapeness–but it was notable because it just felt so good to be out there, on the trail, running.

Requisite Garmin screenshot

Requisite Garmin screenshot

Back in the day (i.e. the halcyon pre-stress fracture era) I would run the ~2 miles from my apartment to the start of the trail. Nowadays (i.e. the turbulent post-stress fracture era) I’ve been driving down and parking 1 or 2 miles south of the start of the trail so that I can limit most of my running to the dirt or loose gravel areas. I still hit some paved patches today–which continues to freak me out a little–but my leg felt okay and, most importantly pain-free.

There’s a lot of work being done on the trail right now, presumably because there were some areas that got pretty significant flooding during some of the winter and spring rainstorms. I’m really thankful that people are working to preserve the trail and reconstruct some of the dicier areas where I have to slow down to a walk or jog lest I fall down a cliff or twist an ankle. On the other hand, I appreciate the fact that the terrain forces me to slow down and take in the scenery and just enjoy being there.

I’m often struck by how everyone else on the trail also seems really happy to be there. Runners tend to acknowledge each other more than they do on the street, and there’s a nice mixture of college students, little old ladies walking little fluffy dogs, hardcore triathletes running or biking…etc.

There’s a section of the trail that’s an off-leash dog area, and I always chuckle to myself when I see a dog emerging from the creek with muddy paws and a look of pure satisfaction on its face. (It probably helps that I’m not the one cleaning off those muddy paws.) Last weekend the Gentleman and I saw a bulldog trotting around with a stick in his mouth, and he just looked so darn proud of himself for finding the ultimate stick.

There were a good number of people on the trail this morning but I’ve rarely seen it get very crowded. When you’re by yourself in one of the more wooded sections it’s very easy to forget that you’re close to downtown Austin. There were a few spots on my run today that didn’t have much shade but I had a tree cover for most of my route, which was very welcome when the weather like this:

Screen Shot 2014-06-07 at 1.57.33 PM

And it wasn’t even 9:00 AM yet. Oh, Central Texas.

Anyway, today’s run was one of those runs that just felt really nice. Since my injury, I’ve been periodically panicking about whether I’ll be able to run the Philadelphia Marathon in November. Today was a good reminder to not focus so much on one race that’s over 5 months away when I can enjoy going for a nice, relaxed run amid beautiful scenery.

Just like the dogs.


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4 Responses to An Ode* to Trail Running

  1. kilax says:

    What a beautiful ode to trails. I think you nailed it that everyone is happier there – people AND animals. And how fantastic they are repairing the trail! The trails around us are very well maintained and I so appreciate it – I prefer the trails over the road!


    • Rungry says:

      I definitely prefer the trail over the road! Unfortunately, I can only run on the trail during the weekend since it’s too dark in the morning when I run before work and too hot in the afternoon.


  2. Glad you had a great run, I need to try the trails.


  3. Pingback: June 2nd-8th “Training” (and Fun!) | Rungry

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