Taking a Break to Trail Run

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I’m grateful my woodpile is lasting so long with this mild winter, but the rain, rather than snow, is really messing with my spirit. I certainly hope this gets us above the water table once the heat of summer returns.

My couches are covered in sheets because the puppy and the boys are perpetual balls of mud. On Sunday I was forced to leave my bike whimpering in the garage, covered in dried mud, while Jojo and I went for a trail run.

It was really fun running the trails I usually ride. I think it allowed me a different mindset about how far I could go and whether I could make it up the next hill. I had no idea I could run as far as I did. Even the hills seemed manageable with the mindset of being on a bike. It was harder to give up.

It’s rare that I run in the woods but I really loved it far more than the road run, done purely out of necessity. The trail run was absolutely joyful. Up until this point, running was the fallback cardio workout required to allow regular beer drinking. In that regard, it only makes sense to run directly from the house, pounding pavement.

The run was my effort at giving the dog exercise and the trails being too muddy for bikes. I was ecstatic to see there were very few riders out, staying off of the suffering trails. Lower Bent Creek has evolved into a quagmire. Mostly people were hiking or running with their well-behaved dogs. I was pleased to put Jojo into that category. She greets people and dogs, but never jumps on them (why she can’t figure that out at home, I don’t know), and is never aggressive to other dogs. She comes when I call her, even when she tries to bound from the trail.

Last week I tried letting her run wild in the ball field at Carrier Park to get some yaya’s out. My phone rang as I bent over to pick up poop. I answered the business call and by the time I hung up, I was holding a limp leash. Meanwhile, my 3-year-old was across the field jubilant with himself saying, “I let Jojo FREEEEE!!”  It was at that moment Jojo bounded over to greet a woman walking her leashed dog. The woman began screaming as if she were being beaten and robbed, “AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!! KEEP YOUR DOG ON A LEEEEEEASH!!!”

Jojo came back on command. Maybe that woman’s therapist suggested she own a dog in an effort to get over her fear of them?

Back to the woods…I looped something together, planning smaller than I would ride, not knowing how many miles I had in my legs. I was excited to realize 30 minutes into my run that I had underestimated myself and had to add a few more trails. After a while it seemed that stopping hurt much more than just continuing on.

Although running was fun, I couldn’t help but pretend that I was on my bike, picking a riding line and looking for roots and rocks to hop over. At least on a bike a different set of muscles and skills are used on the descent, providing somewhat of a break to the climbing muscles. Not running. It all hurts, and you can’t catch as much air.

Running felt great, and I know it helped my cardio base for the next time I ride…which is way more fun!

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