1st of all I'd like to thank my friends on TRI-DRS who challenged my "foreign idea" of driving to run idea.
That feedback got me to thinking... that maybe I was missing something.
So... I hit up the local running club's website.... looking for interesting group runs/locations and... I found something:
and even tho I did not drive to the start... I did do the run. I live about 3.5 miles from the turnaround spot. With the 7 miles on trails... and 7 miles round trip to get there I figured I could add a few miles of the Jax marathon course at the other end and have a nice long run.
So... with a few directions and street names written on my hand I was all set for a Saturday morning adventure. That's about when I noticed that it was raining outside. Well let's add wet and muddy into the mix.
So I began in a steady rain and at a steady pace... In training for ultras means that I need to start getting used to carrying stuff with me. So I took 2 12oz bottles of water and a gel flask full of honey.
Getting to, and back from, the trail was probably the worst part... sidewalks, major highway crossings etc... I guess there's a reason to drive eh?
The "trail" as it is.... is actually a doubletrack along a canal that runs parallel to the railroad. Based on the maps and satellite pictures I'd studied the night before I knew that I could cut through but was unsure of where. I found a likely spot... a hole in a fence at the corner of a vacant lot. I ducked through and had only run a few meters when I started to see evidence of homeless hooches... no people but evidence of first a small and soon a larger camp. Soon I had broken through the woods and found the road/trail.
And it was muddy... and it was still raining... but it was nice... no people.... no cars... for the next mile and a half. At the end of the doubletrack I had to slip through another hole in a fence... cross a road... then I was on a single-track trail for another mile... I crossed another road ran a few blocks down a side street and then cut though another rooty, muddy trail through a city park.
After that it was mostly streets and sidewalks to my 8.5 mile turnaround. More muddy fun on the way back but... I found that I was having a bit of an issue.... my Achilles have been bothering me since the beach run I did a couple of weeks ago... this made the last 3.5 miles on sidewalks unpleasant.
All in all I had a fun adventure and found a new playground... so.... thanks again TRI-DRS.
As for the Achilles... I decided to do my Sunday run on blacktop as much as possible, since that surface seems to bother me the least. I had issues from mile 1 but... the pain/discomfort never got any worse but mentally I was just not into running yesterday. I basically slogged along for 15 miles thinking of excuses to pack it in... then for some reason (okay I promised myself unlimited peanut butter if I ran 20) I felt like running for the last 5 and actually finished strong.