Monday, August 16, 2010

The Path Less Traveled

Yesterday I went for a 1:40 run on my flat route, which is a walking/bike path that parallels the main road that goes into Austria. I like that particular route because it prepares me for the flatness of Munich. I'm training for the half-marathon that will accompany the Munich Marathon this October. The down side of the flat route is that it can get noisy from all of the Sunday tourist traffic. The road that goes into Austria is a busy one. 

When I got to a point where there was a dirt trail that led away from the main road, I decided to try it and see where it went. It was obvious that this hiking and mountain biking path was little-used, which was a nice change from the path along the main road. This path started off relatively flat, but then went gradually uphill. It wasn't anywhere near as steep as the path that I use when I'm training for hilly races. When I got a short distance in, all of the car sounds faded. The only sounds were the music from my iPod and the Loisach River running over the rocks. This particular path parallels the Loisach. It was great to hear the sounds of nature instead of vehicles. A wild animal or two would have added to the atmosphere. I really treasure moments like these when I can totally get away from the city streets and other people. 

I ran in for about 1.5 kilometers, then it was time to turn around and head home. It would have been nice if I could have gone to the trail's end; but I would have paid for it with very sore muscles the next day. I didn't know how much longer the trail continued. It may have gone all the way into Austria for all I knew. But it's always nice to have a new and different place to run, and it's even more fun to explore new trails. On one hand, it would be nice to run on this particular trail regularly. But it might not be the smartest move to do it alone, since it's used so infrequently. It would probably be best to stick to the main road and do "the path less traveled" occasionally or with a partner. 

Today I took a wrong turn on my 5 kilometer recovery run. I started doing short, easy runs the day after my long run. The reason is that my legs are a little bit tired after a long run. Doing a short run with tired legs prepares me for the experience of those last few kilometers in a long race when the legs start to feel like they're made of lead. Since I've trained for that feeling, I know that I can handle it in a race situation. Back to my run today...I ran my 5 km route in the opposite direction, which I had never done before. At one point I had the options of going straight or turning right. Going straight seemed to be the logical thing to do. The road to the right looked like it dead-ended in someone's driveway. But after about 100 meters, I noticed a sawmill on my right. It just didn't look familiar. On my left there was another unfamiliar building. I then realized that I should have turned right, so I turned back and got onto the correct path. When I've run that path in my usual way, I never noticed the turnoff to the sawmill. I was so focused on where I was supposed to go, and my music, that I never even looked for other branches from that path. It looks like my day wasn't wasted because I discovered something new. 

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