Growing up, I always gravitated towards running. I don't know how I fell in love with it or what even inspired me to lace up my shoes in the first place, but I can certainly remember logging lots of miles. It is something I feel blessed to have in my life. It has been a way of fitness and stress relief from the beginning and more recently a source of adventure. Back in January, when I was fortunate enough to make my return to the sport (I had taken a 4 year break from running, due to a spinal injury) I recognized that jumping back in would be physically painful and mentally challenging. Thankfully I know myself... and had access to the internet... and with a little search I found the ALBANY RUNNING EXCHANGE- an organization for runners based in Albany. Their website is fantastic! It has an "events calendar" with races, clinics and daily group runs; some of which are public and others are private- for ARE members only. Well, within the past few weeks of logging higher mileage, I hit a wall. I can't seem to make it past 6 miles. I just get bored. Perhaps it's the fact that I have been running the same city blocks for the last month or that I miss conversation... whatever it is, I knew I needed to find a buddy. So I did just that. Through the ARE member list I was able to find Harry, a member who has a similar running pace and distance interest as my own. This past Wednesday was the first time Harry and I ran together. It was delightfully different and demanding. We ran the trails at the Albany Pine Bush water tower. The trails are sand which is a drastic change from sturdy asphalt, and after the weekend of Irene, the trails were certainly interesting. There were mini-swamps, giant fallen trees and branches strewn all over. I even tripped and fell, the first time ever doing that! Classic move. I had scratches on my legs and thorns in my fingers from the pricker bushes lining the trail and mud galore on my shoes and toes- yes it soaked through my Brooks and socks! I even woke up the next day with cramps in my calves that I didn't know were possible. It was all worth it- being able to run on trails, that as a woman I wouldn't feel safe doing on my own, making a new friend and swapping stories about training, motivation and races. I have a feeling this blog will see several more posts about my trail adventures with Harry.
Following are a few photos to showcase the trails and Harry.