Trail Run/Walk at Sandy Bottom Nature Park

After dropping C. off at the airport today (which took 10-15 minutes each way compared to the 50 minutes it took in LA), I decided to check out a nature park in the area which I’d read had a decent network of trails. I wanted to try for 3 miles, but of course ended up kind of mixing up the trails and doing three loops on a little trail through the woods and then an out and back on the long dog and bike friendly trail. I wanted to push myself to run further than a mile, and basically ran around until I felt like I might trip on my feet, which turned out to be 1.3 miles (in 13 minutes). After that I mixed it up, jogging and walking another 1.48 miles for a total of 2.78 miles today (total time 34:21). 

I almost reached my goal of 3 miles, next time it should be easier as I have at least a rudimentary grasp of the trail system there. According to math, my pace for the 2.78 miles was 12:21/mi which puts me well above my October goal of doing a 5k in 30 minutes, but it’s August and I’m just starting out, so I think it’s a good starting point. I need to work on increasing my stamina and controlling my pace. I guess I’m okay at pacing since I ran at almost the same speed today as I did for my one mile time trial a week ago, despite going 30% farther.

As soon as I hit the pine needle littered trail and started dodging roots (with a few double takes because I’m terrified of running into a snake) I remembered why I refused to do track in high school. I feel lighter and more energetic on a trail than I do on a paved path or track, despite obstacles like decreased traction, roots and rocks. It just feels so much more natural to  be running through the woods than around and around a track. I will definitely be going back soon, with the goal of running 1.5 miles nonstop and then another 1.5 mixed. 

There’s a beautiful green lake in the park and another area of marshland that is home to bald eagles, osprey and other birds. I didn’t take any pictures because I don’t bring my phone on runs, just my little iPod nano and a car key, but I’ll go back when L. comes to visit for a more leisurely visit and take some photos. On the lake trail I ran, there are enclosures with deer, what definitely smelled like a skunk and possibly some other animals. I’m pretty much against forcing animals to live in cages, but I think at this park the animals are there for a reason, like rehabilitation? I hope so, because it would be a real bummer if, while they were protecting the birds, they were exploiting the woodland creatures. Since it’s a free park, and it’s aimed at  being a sort of preserve, I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt until I read more about it. 

I promise that I’m not turning this blog into a running blog, if you can call what I’m doing running at the moment. It’s the same hodgepodge as ever- trips, food, hobbies, random day-to-day stuff and now my renewed obsession with running. A food and beach post is coming soon because I ate some delicious food this week and checked out the local beach and I have plenty of free time to blog all about it (as soon as C. sends me the beach pictures!).

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