Oh sweet Buttermilk Trail, how I’ve missed you

Since I am going to run this cross-country expedition on pavement 99% of the time, I’ve pretty much been running on roads as much as possible these days in preparation. I’ve always been more of a trail runner, it is so much more satisfying to my spirit to spend hours tearing through the woods, not seeing anyone else, jumping about on rocks. And, if I’ve never said it before, Richmond is a runner’s paradise, especially a trail-runner’s paradise. You can run trails along either side of the river for 20 miles, and only run into a handful of people. I always feel super-tough when I head out for a run in the middle of a rainstorm, or during all the snow we got last year, and I don’t see any other runner. It is such a satisfying feeling, and I know that I’m not the only person that thinks this way. Everybody wants to be the toughest in the room.
So, anyway, I’ve had to sideline most of my trail running adventures and concentrate mostly on pounding the pavement everyday. When I was home in Maine a few weeks ago, I spent one day primarily on the trails near Westbrook, and I have to say I have never felt like more of an idiot while running. After a few minutes it was apparent that I had forgotten how to run on the trails. I didn’t think that could happen, but I was stumbling over rocks, misjudging my hops, and clumsily stumbling down the abrupt downhills. I gradually adjusted, and it was a great run externally, with the beautiful views and the sounds of the forest, but inside I was feeling a bit discouraged.
So since I’ve been back to Richmond, I’ve allowed myself some trail running almost every day. Maybe just a mile, maybe 3 or 4, but just a little bit so that I don’t go too crazy running on the roads all the time.
In any case, I’m still running the majority on pavement, and when I have the choice, that’s what I try to stick with, especially since I have a stroller for most of my runs now. For example, out on Riverside Drive on the south side of the river, I’ve stopped running the Buttermilk Trail in favor of running right on Riverside Drive, which still has breathtaking views, and ridiculous mansion houses to keep me distracted. However, yesterday I was on my second 10 miler of the day and feeling a bit, well, blah. I was lacking that spark. So I treated myself to a whole 6 miles on the trail, and it felt so so good. I might have still been tired, but when you’re enjoying your run so much, you forget about being tired.
Getting ready for this run, I’ve been so focused and concentrated, must run this distance today, must do this workout tomorrow. I enjoy it, and there is definitely something to be said to accomplishing what you set out to do, but it felt so good to let that go for the afternoon and just run wild.

PS New photos are up!


Author: zoegoesrunning

Hello! I'm a runner, a writer, and have run across the United States and the Tour de France course. Most recently, I'm blogging about my adventures in an MFA program that will bring me to Chile, Argentina, and Brazil, and my teaching plans for Argentina.

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