11 hours ago
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Great Day for Running the Trails
I arrived at Lock 29 early, so I warmed-up with a slow run toward Pine Lane. I was struck by the unabashed verdant celebration of summer that surrounded me. Trees so full of deep green leaves, they seemed about to burst. A thousand varieties of plants muscling for room at the forest fringes. Birds chattering and calling and flitting from limb to limb. Remarkable and inspiring.
After lingering for a while and taking some photos, I circled back toward the train station and saw that the group had started to gather.
I was in feeling so good, I vaulted the steps put out for boarding the train. Jeff U. and Steve Hawthorne gave me the look, you know, the "WTF is up with you?" look. I told them I'd had too much coffee, but really I think it was just the fun of running on a beautiful Saturday morning. We talked for a few minutes, then Steve G. took the lead and we were off.
About a dozen of us hit the the tow path, heading south, following Steve G. As usual, he was not inclined to tell us where we were going. That's why it can be dangerous to get to far ahead or behind him. If you don't keep him in sight, you may be left to your own to find you way back.
Too bad photos cannot convey the noise we produce. There are usually three or four concurrent conversations, over the sound of a dozen feet hitting the ground. Also too bad photos can't show the mocking and ball-busting, by far the most common theme. No, I take it back. It's good that the camera can't capture that.
Within the first mile, we had moved off the towpath and on to the trail. Steve G. led us on some trails with which I am unfamiliar. It was a good choice, very scenic. We did a bit of back tracking at one point when Steve took us on a trail that simply stopped being a trail. Rather than bush-whacking, we turned and backtracked until we could pick-up another trail.
There plenty of hills, including a particularly steep downhill which had me about one step away from a head-over-heels tumble. I was able to regain control just in time. I decided to turn and try to take a photo of the rest of the group coming down the hill. Flying down right behind me was Steve H., in full stride and only slightly under control. This is a close as a still photo can get to showing that moment. That is Marc A. and his sister Larissa in the background. I decided to move out of there before I got trampled.
One bit of bad news, Mark G. still isn't right. He ran with us for a while, then took an opportunity to cut the run short and head back. He has five weeks until the Spartathon (153 miles) in Greece, and it is looking less sure every day. It would be a huge disappointment for him to be unable to run it.
With Mark, Connie, and a few other having departed, we were a smalled group when we arrived at the quarry. Someone suggested a group photo, and we all scaled the wall to make it interesting. Of course, Hundred-Mile Hawthorne had to one-up everyone. After this, we headed for the station. With my early mile or so, it was about 13.5 miles for the day. Not too bad, and I felt better than I have in weeks.