Aug 13, 2007

exploration and running

On the course of the Hardrock 100 Mile Endurance Run in Southwestern Colorado. Photo taken by Blake Wood.
I have a crack-smokin'-induced dream to run the hardrock 100 some day - it has 33,000 feet (not a typo) of gain over the 100 miles.

well, i don't know if it was the 91ยบ heat that i ran over 5 miles in yesterday, the monster hill in the 5 mile run, the fact that I had run 12 consecutive days, or the fact that i've suddenly upped my weekly mileage to something well over 30, but i was feeling like i needed a day off today. really, my body was saying, "DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT RUNNING TODAY."

that's why i planned to run only 1 mile.

i was going to make sure i ran only one mile, by looking on google satellite pictures, finding something interesting a half-mile from my house, running to it, checking it out, and running home.

once again, i didn't bother with the heart rate monitor.

so i headed out the door, noticed it was much cooler, and took off at a pretty good pace, because - i was only going to run 1 mile!

the interesting thing i was checking out was an abandoned bridge over the ramapo river - long since closed to traffic, i was interested if i could still cross it by foot, because it would serve as a convenient way of crossing the ramapo river to access the trails of ramapo state park in NJ. it's so silly - in order for a pedestrian to get from most of mahwah and all of suffern to this park, they'd have to cross the ramapo river. but the only legal way to do is is in hillburn, 3½ miles to the north of suffern, or on polo lane, a private road 3½ miles south. there is a very unsafe highway crossing in between. getting to the entrance to the south wouldn't be too bad but the busy stretch of 202 that i'd have to run on to get to it is unsafe with no shoulder and heavy traffic. but if this old, condemned bridge, a mere ½ mile away, was passable on foot, I'd have relatively safe access to the trails of ramapo state park.

large signs in front of the bridge said "no trespassing" and "unsafe", but it was obvious by the path through the high vegetation that had grown on the bridge itself that it was commonly used - and when i treaded lightly across, a commuter on a bicycle was coming back across the other direction. when i crossed, i had completed my planned trip, time to turn around - and yet found myself succumbing to the irresistible urge to explore the area that i had come upon - an abandoned railroad right-of-way, the tracks long since ripped out. I ran all the way to the aforementioned highway and back, and enjoyed almost two miles of solitary running without seeing anyone since the dude on the bicycle. no cars, either. back across the bridge and back home - my 1 mile run turned into a 5k.

this old abandoned bridge gives me a portal to explore the trails of a place that could really develop my potential as an ultrarunner. it has a tremendous amount of potential, complete with plenty of hills, pipeline right-of-ways, jeep roads, and single-track hiking trails. Physically, I'm not quite to the point where i can really take advantage of this stuff, but the running scenarios going through my noodle right now are pretty exciting.

oh, and regarding my body begging me not to run today, it feels fine now. better and more rested than before the run. funny how that works.

Log of today's run

By the way, over the next few days i'll be transitioning back from livejournal to blogger. it's just a matter of copying the 199 entries i've made here. This is the 200th post to my livejournal blog! it's also one of the last! most of you will notice little difference, but those of you who read this thing from an rss feed (god bless you), will have to update your reader with the new url. i'll post more details next week.

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