When the FitBit reads oh-four-thirty-ish, running gear includes headlamps and the thick wet morning air belongs in a sauna — you can stake claim to the label: Sleep-deprived East Coast runner. Or, simply someone who has lost their sensibilities.
Yes, the Grand Trailfest is under 3 months away. Yes, we are still searching for replica-trails that will mirror the conditions in high-altitude desert. Yes, the East Coast is baking in heat and drowning in rain making for super-humid-roaster conditions — the opposite of high-altitude desert. Yes, we search for that fine-line of training too much or tapering-too-soon, and yes, yes yes, we err on the side of training-too-much.
So, naturally, Jill selected a trail run that included 11 miles of trails — The Patuxent Branch Trail (PBT). We googled-it, analyzed the trail from a virtual map, and it seemed to be the perfect fit for our trail-run training.
We arrived at the parking gate to the PBT, well before the trail officially opened, and well before sun rise. Equipped with camel-bak’s topped off with ice-cold water, ziploc bags of dates, and a phone (for navigation & taking pictures), off we ran on a wide glorious path with no other humans. Eventually the wide dirt trail ended, and we veered off onto a single-wide foot path that was far less traveled. I wasn’t sure this was correct, so we stopped to check it with The Google, and The Google insisted that this overgrown patch of land filled with pricker bushes, spider webs, fallen trees, and streams to leap-across — was indeed our trail. Jill trail-blazed until she ran into a pricker bush and all momentum ceased as she worked to disentangle bleeding arms and legs.
I waited, then offered her a band aid. She responded with stink-eye. Apparently, that was not the correct offering. So I took the lead, and we continued on — hyper alert to pricker-bushes and spider webs, and that put the tall-one in a proper mood. Keeping the river to our right, we ran on, watching the deer who were watching us as if to say the trail belonged to them.
Eventually the trail meandered away from the river, and the deer, and we found ourselves inside of a local Park — equipped with baseball fields and basketball courts. Clearly, it was time for play. We ran around the basketball court, finding a stray basketball and pretended to be Michael Jordan, and then ran home runs around the baseball field until someone wearing a white iZod shirt and long blue pants headed in our direction. Off we go, returning to our trail, discovering adventure — the best part of going off-road.
Peace, Love, Out,