Saturday, October 8, 2011

Back to the trails on a beautiful fall day

Leaves on the trail

Today was one of those fall days in Northeast Wisconsin that you wish you could somehow bottle: temps reaching 80 degrees, nice breeze, sunny skies, and low humidity. In other words, it was a perfect day for my first trail run since my self-imposed trail prohibition began several weeks ago. (I get really clumsy before races and didn't want to risk tripping before the marathon.)

Fall is not typically my favorite season to hit the trails. All the leaf litter on the ground makes it hard to see rocks and roots in your path, and tripping - at least for me - isn't that uncommon. But the colors on the trees, the cool air, and just that feeling that there aren't too many more days like this left make it sweet nonetheless.

Stairs leading up the hill
Heading to High Cliff State Park, I ran the Lime Kiln trail, walking up the steps to the Red Bird Trail and then took that around to the big hill, which I then ran down. Now, when I say "run," I use that term lightly. I still really didn't feel too confident in my legs after the marathon, plus that sore ankle made me nervous. So, I set my watch at a very modest 1:1 interval: one minute running to one minute walking.

That felt really great, so once I reached the top of the hill, I upped it to a 2:1 run:walk. Add to that all the stops I made to take photos, and that one hour "run" didn't really amount to much mileage. That's okay, though. It really felt good just to get out there, get some mental clarity after a week of being housebound with a sick child, and enjoy not having any goals for the day's run. I love training for events and having things planned out, but sometimes just having nowhere to be is nice, too.
Hidden rock

Today was one of those days where I felt I could have kept doing what I was doing forever. I finished the run down by the lake where my family and some good friends were already set up for a picnic. We then spent the next few hours just hanging out and enjoying the day.

Considering how fast summer went by this year, having this day to enjoy summer-like weather was just what was needed. It was a great way to say good-bye to the "easy" running season, and somehow I feel more prepared now for the cold days that I know are ahead.

Run happy, be happy!

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