Last Friday (a week ago) we were in Wytheville, VA near the Appalachian Trail. I was very excited about running 3 or 4 miles on the AT. When I went in search of it I was driving along I-77 which runs several hundred feet below the AT. The interstate goes through a tunnel under the AT which goes across the mountain ridge. I guess they figure someone walking the AT has more horse power to go over the mountain than a car.
I ended up on the Seven Sisters Trail near the AT. I was still hoping for a longish run, but knew quickly that my efforts would probably be thwarted as soon as I started up the trail. Up literally, not just figuratively. You only go a couple hundred yards on the trail before it becomes a climb. After running for 36 minutes I heard my GPS beep telling me that I just crossed another mile of my run. Assuming I had crossed the 3 mile mark, that meant a 12 minute mile which seemed reasonable based on the terrain. I finished the run in just over 50 minutes. I was a bit surprised to look at my GPS and find out that I had run less than 3 miles! Total distance and pace was 2.93 miles at 17:17 per mile.
Saturday I tried again to do a good long trail run. By this time we were in Dunbar, PA just south of Pittsburgh. There is a Rails to Trails track from Pittsburgh to Washington DC that runs right through Dunbar. Or, so I thought. It runs close to Dunbar. I had my wife drive me to the closest point we could get to the trail. I was going to run down a dirt road and onto the rail bed. She left and within 3 minutes I was calling her to come get me. The road that my GPS showed would get me to the trail had signs down both sides saying that anyone who steps foot on that property would be shot and left to rot. Or something like that. She came and got me and I scrapped the run. I was limited on time anyway and it was probably just as well that I did not get to do it.
My efforts were rewarded on Monday when I went to another spot on the same trail in Connellsville, PA. Instead of going towards Dunbar I ran towards Dickerson Run. It was a wonderful 9.2 mile run that was everything I had been hoping for in my previous attempts.
I ran out of town along a river. I saw a few people also running and walking when I started out, but after 10 minutes or so I was all alone on the trail for the rest of the run. Because it was a converted rail road track it was very flat. There was a gradual incline over the course of the run, but nothing dramatic. I had to cut the run a little shorter than I wanted because of time, but I really felt like it made up for the two previous failed attempts.
Then we were in Duncansville, PA on Wednesday where I did a very nice 3.73 mile run up the Allegheny Portage Railroad’s 6 to 10 Trail.
Today (Friday) in Jackson, MI I ran on the Falling Water Trail. I ran 4 miles on the very flat and straight paved trail. I love these old rail beds, but sometimes when you turn around after having run 2 miles and can see your car parked at the point where you started it makes that return trip seem to take forever.
One thing I have really enjoyed about running as we travel is that I can enjoy these different locations without getting bored of running the same path over and over.