Saturday, September 8, 2012

Running From Road Rage Onto Some Trails

So, I went off-roading this weekend. Yes, partially inspired by a post on RunChat challenging runners to get off the roads and hit the trails, I ran to nearby heritage park.  It's a perfect mile and a half warm up run to get there, but I just don't go there nearly enough.  I have no idea why.  There are wonderful hills that go on just long enough, a mix of wide, meandering trails and small, twisty, off-piste single track where you have to choose your landing area three steps ahead and bounce off roots, fallen trees, and rocks.  

Heritage in the Summer
It always feels more like play on a trail run, it forces me to not always gauge my speed and mileage. On nearby streets, I know the exact mileage between pretty much every telephone pole, landmark, and my brain's just a GPS-ing Garmin.  On a trail I leave all this behind and feel free and easy.  Easy like Sunday Morning.

Heritage is not huge, and it's hard to get in a ton of miles here without running the same track twice, but there are also tons of off-shoots to get lost in.  Nearby are the incredible longer trails of Potto, Maybury, and Pontiac Lake. If you live in Michigan, chances are you've scrapped some flesh off on a rock at one or all of these. Running Fit's Trail Marathon, one of the toughest 25 marathons in the country, (as ranked by Marathon & Beyond) is one that I finished in record slow and grueling time and is ran on the Potto trail.

I've always admired trail runners.  They have an edge to them, a hardcore halo over their heads that I admire, yet a peaceful aura from their hearts that can only come from so many miles in the woods.

My eight miles in pictures.

If you want the best condition trails and dirt here, you have to go off-piste.
A nice downhill with a little barrier in the middle.  Too high to jump over, too low to duck

Yes, that's a deer at the tip of my finger. I ran upon him and he barely moved. Object is closer than it appears.

A troll who lives under this bridge runs the trails by night and sleeps by day
Yes, Trail Runners are an incredible breed, and exist in a world I only visit but should do so much more often.

I leave you with Rudy the Rabbit, who displayed the incredible extra strength runners can infuse when they run trails, and let their animal instincts take over. His trail-run victory in the movie Meatballs, inspired by one of the greatest pep talks of all time, still brings a tear to my eye.

"On open ground this guy could take you, but you're runnin' through the woods. You got a chance. You're smaller and you can run through bushes faster. You're like a little rabbit. You're Rudy the Wabbit, okay? When you're running, think, "I'm Rudy the Wabbit."

The Jade Rabbit, on Amazon  $3.99, the story of a miraculous marathon run.

(Currently #1 Substance Abuse Focused book in the UK)

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