Hitting the trails

After five days of unstructured activity, it was about damn time that I got my rear in gear. Although my father and best friend ditched me, I decided to go for a run. It was tough to decide if I should go outdoors or on the dreadmill (in the glorious AC). Thankfully some Twitter folk talked me into the outdoor shaded option, if you weren’t aware, they are serious enablers. (Note: I hate dreadmills even though I’ve heard rumors that they can be good for me.)

So I suited up and set off for the trails. Valley Forge National Park offers a dozen trail options from hilly and out in the sun to a 20-something mile trail into down town Philadelphia. For today I chose the 90% shaded path that runs along the Schuylkill River. Theoretically this made the run a bit more bearable, but I’m not sure if I believe it. The temperature on the path was lower, yet it was still humid and hotter than I’d prefer (anything over 50º).

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I went out way too fast on my first mile. Looking down at Garmie (the Garmin 305) I saw that I was going at a great pace for a day when the weather is more agreeable and I’ve been keeping a regular training schedule. Today was not that day. I slowed down substantially for the following three miles, it was quite necessary or my body might have rebelled. In the end I completed a solid four miles much slower than typical. I’ll take it for now and try to get back out again tomorrow.

The paths are quite beautiful, I suggest checking them out if you are ever in the area. It was serene being out there. Since I went at a random time of day, there were very few individuals out on the path with me. So much nicer that way. On the weekends you’ll find hoards of people in the main park  from bikers to roller bladers and tourist groups galore. Other cute things about the park include the monuments and structures. There are log cabins and cannons every couple of miles. Today I saw a brick structure; I had to run past it (to hit four miles) and then I wandered back to get a photo. Fortunately my camera fit comfortably in my SPIbelt (and no one saw me awkwardly taking photos).

What is your favorite outdoor place to run/exercise? Do you seek shade or AC on these hot days?



About Michelle

I'm an engineer living (and running) in Palo Alto, CA.

Posted on August 2, 2011, in Running and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Yay for your triumphant return to running! I absolutely refuse to use a treadmill, so I would have picked the outdoor option too.

    • I don’t know if it qualifies as triumphant, I’m just glad I got off my ass to do it. Treadmills aren’t fun, but they will allow me to train for hills and do proper intervals so I should learn to embrace them.

  2. It looks beautiful there – I hope I get the chance to check it out someday! Great run! I love running outdoors, but I get bored with the same old trails over and over again – I like to change up the scenery!

    • I agree, it is nice to find new paths and routes to run. Running the same loop around my apartment complex in Dublin was quite boring after six months.
      You should definitely check out the park sometime, it is gorgeous and offers more hills than the entirety of Columbus. And if the park doesn’t keep you entertained, there is always the King of Prussia mall five minutes away (largest retail space mall in the US).

  3. Call me crazy but I’ve been outside non-stop this summer. Sure I have a treadmill I could use in my basement, but I’ve got used to the heat after being in it every day. It’s got to the point where I go to group runs and everyone complains on the heat, and I say…. what heat? Very ironic considering I am THE sweatiest person EVER!

    The treadmill was definitely useful this winter though. Honestly I used it to avoid running in the dark and the 30 minutes of preparation that running in the cold required. I don’t mind the cold weather, it’s just not convenient :(

    • You are crazy! Your running streak is so inspiring, I’m hoping that one day I can come close to yours. As for running in extreme heat, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it. Maybe it has something to do with your lack of AC…

      • Everyone has to start their runstreak with Day 1, if you think you can do it, just start! Just remember that you still need rest days, and even a one mile run counts towards the streak!

        I actually turned on the AC recently. It just stopped getting cool at nights, the humidity was ridiculous, and I don’t want my girlfriend to think I’m a cheap skate (which I am).

  4. I actually don’t mind a treadmill too much! There aren’t many places to run around where I live so I end up on the treadmill most of the time anyway. I don’t do much of anything outside right now except run from the car into the air conditioned building- it’s 110 here right now!!!

    • I can totally understand why you’d choose the treadmill over the heat. 110 degrees? No way would I go outside! I don’t even know how a person would dress for that weather, can you wear a bathing suit everywhere?

  5. I’m so jealous of you being able to run outside right now! It was 110 today here in DFW (as Sarah said I just realized). I can bike in weather up to about 100, but I can’t run in anything over 80 without wanting to die. It’s miserable!

    Plus, that trail is gorgeous! More pictures please!

  6. Yey for trail running and unstructured days!! I am loving getting out and about to run, bike and do boot camp. I would say that I’m actually enjoying running around this area more than along Lake Michigan or the C&O tow path. It’s just so peaceful and full of natural beauty!

    Hope your vacay continues wonderfully! :)

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