April 29, 2011

A Lovely Discovery

Yesterday morning as I left the gym after pounding out another 4.5 miles, I was hit with a realization that I never saw coming: all of a sudden, it struck me that I was absolutely positively sick of running on a treadmill. I suppose it's not all that surprising -- in the past 2-3 months, I've logged over 200 miles, the great majority of which were completed on the treadmill. Don't get me wrong, I'm really thankful to have such easy access to a great gym -- I'm a wimp during the cold months, and without such an unavoidably convenient way to run inside, I'd still be making excuses and avoiding running like the plague. Truthfully, I've never thought running on a treadmill was as bad as a lot of people think. Once you get past the whole running-in-place thing, it's pretty nice to be in a temperature controlled environment with easy access to bathrooms, no need to carry a water bottle, and the ability to watch tv (although I never take advantage of that last one) Despite all these benefits, as of yesterday morning I was officially experiencing treadmill burnout.
The only difficulty? My neighborhood, as I've mentioned, is not runner friendly. Essentially, the neighborhood itself is built into a small mountain (great for hill-work but not more than once a week), and when you get out onto the main road there is no sidewalk, tall grass, and a fair amount of traffic. These are all pretty major problems.
This morning, though, I was determined to find somewhere to run outside, even if I had to run laps around the dog park. I decided to take a chance on the one place I'd never been: the neighborhood across the street. I still had to run along the main road to get there, but it's less than a quarter mile away and I figured it was worth a try. I'm so glad I did -- guess what I found?

A great little running path! I haven't explored the whole thing, because my legs were seriously sore this morning, but I was so busy being thrilled about my new running spot that I barely noticed. It is scenic, fairly popular (read: safe, Mom and Dad), and a great balance of hills and flat stretches. The best part, though, was this:
That's right, there's a half-mile loop around a little pond, complete with honking geese and lots of pretty trees. Perfect! Plus we got a ton of rain here last night (and more this morning, I barely made it home before another storm hit), so the air was cooler and the path was still wet. Running right after a storm is my favorite!
I'm so excited to have somewhere I can run outside -- even in the mornings before work. Unfortunately I don't think the trail is long enough for a long run, but it's definitely ideal for a quick few miles during the week. I doubt that I'll stop using the treadmill totally, but I'm really looking forward to mixing it up a little bit!



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