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I am a trail runner! I truly fee ...

Posted Jun 13 2009 12:00am
I am a trail runner! I truly feel this now!! I no longer feel like a road runner just experimenting on the other side of the fence. I've got the shoes, too--man and this is just the beginning to another tangent of my general running affliction. Today I ran the Pine Lane Trail, which is part of the Buckeye Trail. Wow!! The Buckeye Trail used to be this mysterious thing to me. It used to scare the crap out of me. Way back before my husband and I had kids we did a bit of hiking near O'Neil Woods and somehow or another we ended up on the Buckeye Trail, as evidenced by the blue blazes on the trees every hundred feet or so. Back then, I likened the Buckeye Trail with the Appalachian Trail and mistakenly thought that we would end up in South Carolina. We couldn't decipher the code of the blazes, either, as sometimes there was a single blaze and other times there were double offset blazes. My husband and I got really lost on this trail and I remember being kind of freaked out. We saw a dead carcass of something right in the middle of the trail--and this did nothing to comfort us. It's so isolated too. We wandered around in the woods for like 3 hours before we figured out where we were and never encountered a single soul. Ever since then, I've been kind of hesitant to venture on those blue blazed trails, but now...knowledge is King and I have deciphered the mystery. I was wandering around lost on that trail with my husband probably 13 years ago, and never would I have predicted that more than a decade later I'd be running the blue blazed trails like a native.

We started our run today at Pine Lane Trail head in Penninsula. I arrived punctually clad in my new trail shoes and a new clearance technical long sleeved tee from Dick's that claimed to be infused with this stuff to make it odor resistant. Yea, we'll see on this. I love technical clothing but it holds on to B.O. like a sponge holds water. I can smell worse than most men, so I was really sold on this feature. I was ready!! Roger had already been out running nine miles. Kurt and Jim started early too and we might briefly pass them, but they wouldn't be running with us today. Nancy still had a bum back and Mike was out of town flying around God knows where. http://www.fitfromfat.blogspot.com One of these days I will actually meet this elusive member of our group! Pine Lane Trail was four miles to Boston Store and then four miles back. We could fill up on water and pee at Boston store. Roger estimated that it would take us 60 minutes to Boston Store.

The entire trail is part of the Buckeye Trail http://www.buckeyetrail.org which is a 1444 miles of continuous trail which circles Ohio, vaguely touching all four corners of the state, and traversing some 40 counties. It is completely circular, so I was highly amiss thinking that the Buckeye Trail would take me to Georgia. The blazes are very simple to decipher. They are prominently displayed at eyelevel every 100 feet or so to delineate the way. A single blaze indicates a relative straight corridor. Two offset blazes indicates that the trail with veer in the direction of the most elevated blaze. Two side to side blazes indicate that the trail drastically changes direction and to be aware.

The Pine Lane trail traverses so many different habitats. One minute we are walking up the steep sides of valleys and then running down. Then we are out in meadows and then running through relatively flat mixed deciduous forests. Pine Lane aptly acquired it's name from a half mile section of this run than goes through a Pine Forest. I found out today, the Pine forest was planted several years ago by a Girl Scout troop. I figured pine trees didn't naturally grow in such well defined rows. Still, even though planted by man....this is a beautiful section. You are actually running along the edge of the pine forest--to the right are the pines and to the left is this vast yellow meadow. I just loved this! It was incredibly beautiful but also it demanded astute attention to your running. The pine roots formed a gnarly labyrinth that was quite challenging to run through. It was the natural version of what football players do in training when they hop through the metal grid what-cha-ma-call-it thing. I felt so incredible here. At one point we passed a few enlightened hikers. You could tell they were relishing in their slow meander through the pine forest and didn't quite get what our rush was about. They said something like, "Did you lose someone?" As if to suggest this could be the only reason we'd be running through this vast beautiful scene. Well, my only explanation for him would be....this is how your Type A hyperactive attention deficit soul enjoys nature. The type B soul prefers the slow reflective meander through nature and the crazies, like us, enjoy it all the same....only running like maniacs. We'd stop every once in awhile, stoop down and sniff a flower and really take in the scene. To each his own. There is a place for everyone!!!

We were almost to Boston Store and Debi was trying to avoid an especially muddy patch and went off to the side and tripped over a branch. Debi went down hard, but she was OK. She laughed, got right up, and marveled at the muddy mess up her legs. Wow. I'd had several near falls, but never quite fallen yet. I consider myself fairly coordinated, but I know it's only a matter of time before I'm eating mud. Debi laments that she falls every time she does this course. I really like that you have to pay so much attention to your footing while doing this kind of running. It's good for developing proprioception which has to do with knowing where your body is in space.

Finally, we made it to Boston Store! Debi and I ran back without Roger. We did the return run in virtually the same time it took to run out, so I thought this was good. What a fabulous run on a fabulous day. It seemed more like a day in early April than a late November day. I won't forget this one soon!! I came home and rather relished in the drying dirt on my legs. I sat around for awhile enjoying it before I decided to get in the shower. It just made me happy to do that.

The verdict on the new technical tee? B- It stunk a little bit, but not my usual horrifying strench I get post run. This technical tee did a good job. My only fear is that the treatment will wash out in a few washes and then I'll be back to square one.
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