I worked from home today instead of commuting into the city but rather than doing my usual 4:00 AM run on the treadmill, I went out to Stillwell Woods accompanied by Adventure Girl. AG came out our way to deliver a guest lecture at my son’s school and we took advantage of that circumstance to cover 2.5 miles on the trails. It was the first time that I’d run at Stillwell since the XTERRA race on the 7th and the trail conditions were very different this morning. Unlike on race day, Stillwell’s trails were clear of ice and snow and the temperature was heading toward 40. AG and I had not run together since last August so it was great that we had the opportunity to do this run. After a brief warm up we headed into the Preserve with the intention of following the “Black” trail that represented last week’s race course. It was difficult to remember the paths I had traveled during the race and as we came upon the many forks we began making guesses as to which direction to follow.
We ended crossing over to the main open trail where the Black trail terminates and followed that back into the woods for a while. Neither AG nor I were looking for this to be a fast run and it was great to look around and talk as we ran. We didn’t encounter the rolling inclines that I’d experience during the race but near the end of our run we came upon a steep, carved passage that really woke up my quads. We weren’t on that for long but I was grateful for the level ground when we reached the top. I realized later that this hill is one of the ‘features’ of Stillwell that I’ve always avoided (though I went down it during the race) on recreational runs. We soon came out to the open field and did a circle along that flat dirt path before we headed back to the parking lot. In all, we covered 2.5 miles and still had plenty of energy to get us through the day. My family reported that AG’s lecture went great and we put her on a train back to the city this afternoon. It was a great day for everyone and a wonderful reminder of the great running adventures I had with Adventure Girl last summer.