After the Easter baskets were found and all the eggs had been collected, I headed to First Landing State Park to run a few miles on the trails. After running just one mile on soft trails on Monday, I saw huge improvements with my running on Friday (who knows if one had to do with the other, but it can’t hurt to see). Instead of running one mile on trails, I decided to tackle my whole run in the park. I headed to 64th Street with dog in tow. The park was much busier than I expected. I thought most people would be a church. Instead of running the trail to the boat ramp, I decided to run a more isolated trail. (The only time I’ve been on this trail was when I was trying to walk Chet out of my belly).
The trail is one mile in off of the main trail. As soon as I turned off, I knew this run would be a whole lot harder than I was expecting. The elevation change is a lot more dramatic than the flat roads I run at home. I was running up and over
sand dunes hills. The soft sandy surface definitely made it challenging for me. My legs haven’t been challenged like this in over a year. I quickly decided that I needed to just settle into my run and enjoy being outside. I ignored my watch. I didn’t think about pace. I just ran with my dog.
2.61 miles into my run I reached the turn around point (since I’m still not 100% confident where the trail leads me). Alex and I stopped for a few minutes to take in the beautiful day and to shed a layer of clothing at this park bench.
In Wilderness is the Preservation of the World ~ Henry David Thoreau
Inspiration on a park bench (with extra consideration for my dog). How can you not love that?
The park bench (and my tired legs) reconfirmed my plan to simply enjoy my run yesterday. Instead of turning around, I ran another half mile into the park. I stumbled upon a great little lookout with some amazing views. Again I allowed myself a few minutes to soak up the sun and the beautiful world that surrounds me.
At this point, Alex and I turned around and headed back to my car. The further we ran, the more exhausted my legs felt. My brain gets incredibly busy when my legs get tired. I started thinking about running again. I started thinking about previous runs. I looked down to check out my watch…guess what wasn’t tracking mileage again? Time was ticking on, but my mileage was still stuck at 2.61. Eventually my watch found a connection again and my mileage kept on going.
The more tired my legs became, the more I thought about other runs and other runners. I had just read Jen’s race report before I left for my run. I thought about Dorothy’s blog and finding her strong. I kept repeating to myself: Every step is making you stronger. Every step is making you stronger. Because my watch was acting funny, pace didn’t matter to me. I focused on running strong up each hill. I sludged through the sand. I kept going. Each step was making me stronger.
After 5.5 miles on the trails, my feet found pavement. I felt like a brand new runner. Each step did make me stronger. I decided to tackle another half mile and one more big (for Virginia Beach) hill.
6 miles of trails, hills, sand, and a strong finish in 1:10:46. The first half of my run nourished the part of me that loves our planet. The second half of my run challenged me more physically than I have been challenged since having Chet. This is my perfect type of Sunday.
When I got back to my car, I decided that Alex and I deserved a quick reward. We crossed the street, headed over another sand dune, and soaked in the sight, sound, and smell of the ocean.
After a few minutes on the beach, I headed home to enjoy the rest of Easter with my family. I hope everyone had an equally as wonderful Easter.
(Q: Anyone else find that running trails makes you faster on the road? Anyone else have troubles with your Garmin in the park?)