Tuesday, December 27, 2011

How I Spent My Day Off on Monday

Like most people this year, we got Monday off work due to Christmas being on a weekend.  Its a double win this year, because New Years is the same way.  It also makes a perfect time to take the days off around it to make for an extra long weekend.  So with Monday off, I took to the trails for a nice relaxing hour long run.  For this run, I went over to Algonkian Park, which is a place I've never run before.  This is also the site of the North Face Endurance Challenge races, so I figured I might as well explore some.

What I found is a nice network of trails that while relatively flat, offer scenic overlooks out along the Potomac River.  I didn't go very far, and I know there are much more technical sections that are part of the 50 mile race, but I found the trail to be easy and flat, but quite muddy.  It rained a bunch earlier in the week, but it had been a solid 4-5 days since any rain, so I thought it would be more dried out.  While most of the trail was dry, there were some sections that where my foot was nearly submerged in mud.  But isn't that what trail running is all about -  Facing unknown conditions and making the most of them?

One of the nicely packed singletrack trail sections along the Potomac River
What I like most about trail running is that each time you go back to the same trail, the conditions are different.  This means that every time you run, you get a different experience.  Unlike hitting the paved roads/trails, where you know nearly each and every step along the way, trail running has the distinct advantage of forcing you to think each time you place your foot.  And as a result, time flies!  While I only spent an hour or so out there, I felt like I just went for a 15-20 minute jog.  Turned out, I had covered about 7 miles and my shoes were caked in mud.  Overall, it was a fun day and a great way to spend a day off from work.

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