The other day, when I ran and freaked myself out while listening to a podcast, I was running on Pre’s Trail. I don’t think he ever ran there (and certainly not on the trail as it exists now – it was built after he died), but it was built as a tribute to him. It was his idea, inspired by the soft-surface running trails he had seen in Scandinavia. The soft surface is why I’m running on it now. Well, that and it’s Pre’s Trail and it’s close to our house. I’m still working my way back up to normal running, and I think technically I’m still supposed to be on a treadmill, but I really wanted to get outside, and the wood chip-covered trail is way better for me than the hard paths in the park. What I didn’t anticipate is how dusty and dirty I’d get. Until this past week or so, all of my outside running, for years, has been on paved paths. Unless there are puddles, you just don’t get dirty on paved paths. On this bark and dirt path, though, every step I take kicks up dust and pieces of wood, and it gets everywhere. When I get home, I have to take my shoes off outside and shake them out. My socks are brown with the dirt that sifted into my shoes, and when I take my socks off, my toes are covered with the dirt that somehow sifted through the fabric of my socks. And my calves! All dirt up to my knees. When I take my socks off, I look like I have a really dark tan line right around my ankle. I assure you, I do not. It’s straight-up dirt, so it’s pretty much directly into the shower for me when I get back every time. Do not stop and rest, do not go into the kitchen, DO NOT PASS GO.
Even with the dirt, though, I like it. My feet don’t hurt, and it’s pretty. I’m in and out of woods, sometimes next to a pond or a canal. The paved paths are pretty, too, and since this trail is only 4 miles long, I’ll probably go back to them once I get back to that distance, but I think it’ll be a while. I’m still following my physical therapist’s instructions and sticking to 30 minutes only. I think I have one more run at 1 minute walk, 5 minutes running, and then I’ll graduate to 20 minutes of running, no walking. I’ll do that three times, every other day, then 25 minutes three times, then 30 minutes three times, and then I’m back to normal. I hope. Then I can go back to working on distance. Just in time for winter. Can’t wait!