Sunday, February 26, 2012

New Trail, Old Friends

Yesterday I woke at 300 AM for a 600 AM run date at Lebanon Hills, in Eagan.  I knew that Maria, Arika and Jim were going to be running. Zac and Todd were too, as well as Travis and Mike, whom I met for the first time yesterday.

My plan was to run for approximately 4 hours, 600 AM- 1000 AM, so that I would be home, showered, fueled and ready to go to my nephew's 100 PM play in Princeton.

When I pulled into the lot at 550 it was still dark, I was glad my headlamp was tucked under my seat and had been since my last night run. I was disappointed that I didn't see any cars in the lot. Maybe I was just earlier that everyone else.

Sure enough!  Within a few minutes cars began to pull into the lot.  Jim began at 4 AM so already had 9 miles in when we were ready to head out. He was running another 9 with us, planning on being back home by 1000 to get his Twins tickets ordered.  Good plan! I would be running two of the 9 mile sections.

We headed off into the dark, upon the snow packed trail. The trail was in very good condition-the snow was compressed tightly, there had been plenty of traffic upon the trails. I was anxious for the sun to rise so that I could see my surroundings. I could tell that we were running along a lake. There were many of them along the trails.

When the sun rose we were running through a pine area. It was just beautiful. The  trails were rolling hills, through areas of pine, oak and a bit of open field.

We didn't see many others out enjoying the trails. I saw one other runner and a man walking with his dog. It was early for most of the population, I suppose.

The park has a visitor center that was open with HEATED bathrooms and water fountains. It was a green building that had a vegetative roof, rain garden and day lighting. There were beaches, snowshoe trail, horse trail, bike trail and ski trail, skating, fishing and kayaking available. Quite the park!

As I was running along the trail system I realized I was sore from wrist to waist. The last CrossFit WOD I did was 100 pull ups, 100 push ups, 100 sit ups and 100 squats. That was on Thursday and I was certainly feeling it yesterday!

Our 9 mile loop brought us back to the parking lot where I refilled bottle and grabbed another gel. Jim, Travis, Arika and Todd ended their run and Maria, Zac, Mike and myself headed out for another 9 mile stretch. There were times when I watched the others run up hills as I was slowly trudging up them, wondering what the hell had happened to my level of fitness. Just as I began to mourn the fitness I once had I stopped  myself to  remind me to feel the gratitude for just being out there!  I quickly realized that it wasn't too many months ago that I wasn't sure if I would ever get through the day without pain and I certainly didn't think I was going to be running trail this winter.  Those thoughts kept me in check.

I had an awesome time out there and will be going back to Lebanon Hills.

This afternoon I'm meeting Bonnie and Marie for a late lunch at Ecopolitan then off to Twin City Running Company for Unbreakable movie night.  Boy, two days of socialization in a row. That's not like me but I am looking forward to it.

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