Monday, January 7, 2008

On Running: The Perks

Running trails in late December in Maine looks a little different than it does on Maryland's Eastern Shore. A view of Christmas/New Year's trail running from Wood Frog. Photo by Mike Keene.

I would run in the snow every day over the winter if I could. I only lack the snow to be able to pull it off. I always look forward to our trips to the Pittsburgh/Butler, PA, area, both for seeing my wife's brother and our nephews, but also to see and run again on the trails near his house.

Returning from his family's trip to Maine at the end of 2007, our friend the Wood Frog writes:

"When I run I do the whole trip on foot making exactly a 5 miler; to the Point trailhead is 1.4, around the main old farm road trail is 2.2, and return is 1.4. I can add a few more miles if I take the various, more challenging side trails. It is a beautiful system of trails, though much smaller than Tuckahoe. However, if I ran all the trails at one time I could make for about 5 miles within Dodge Point.

"...It was a windless, sunny, 35 degree early afternoon. The snow cover was a mixture of packed snow, uneven post-holed foot prints, and ice. We easily managed a 9 minute pace. Our talk was easy, too, not delving into anything too deep. She truly seemed interested in "run" talk; form, pace (she asked if we were running at my normal pace), and distance. It was a good event for us both and a good first-time trail-running experience for Eleanora. I hope that is the start of many she is to enjoy through out her life."

Mike's words sat, and still sit, with me both for being transportive, and because Eleanora is his older daughter, who asked him to go for a run (a trail run, no less!). I would never wish my own girls' childhood away, but the idea of going for a run with Anna or Ava would make for a life moment for me. Who knows if either will take to running--I know many runners' children who don't--but I can at least hold the picture in the meantime.

Keene also has two daughters. They are 12 and 14--older than our girls, which makes sense since Mike is also old ;)--they are both incredible athletes, and Olivia, the younger, regularly runs and wins her age group in 5K races. I enjoy watching and hearing about the Keene girls and wondering what the Valliant girls will end up being like at that age. Hopefully not still chasing the cat around the house. I hope I will take them running. Better, perhaps they will take me running.

I am two runs into 2008, both shorter than I originally hoped. I ran my 4-mile Rails-to-Trails route on New Year's Day in 33:32, without pushing the pace. And this past Sunday morning (1/06), I got in an 8-mile run in 1:11:27, after starting slow and running negative splits, with a good stride and pace, especially over the last two miles. It was one of those runs that started in the dark and had me running as the sun came up. That is one of the great perks of an early morning run.

So here's to running as the sun comes up in 2008. To running new trails and returning, at least with new eyes, to familiar trails and roads. To travel and running new places. And to running with family and friends. In the snow, this winter, when possible.


Sunshine Gjirl said...

Hi Michael and greetings from Banff! Here's to running as the sun comes up in 2008...what about when the sun go's down?? Loved your "toast to the New Year".
Happy Trails!

Sunshine Girl said...

OOPS....didn't mean to be anonymous. Cheers! Leslie