Nature Run


You guys.  Yesterday rocked.

I had an exciting workout planned, so I started with the breakfast of champions laziness.

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2 Vans Light toaster waffles, topped with my very last spoonful of Better’n Butter, raspberry preserves, walnuts, and a drizzle of agave.  1/2 grapefruit, cherries, goji berries, and a tiny glass of almond milk.

While I ate, I browsed Poets and Writers magazine. The castle in that ad?  I’ve been there three times! It’s in Germany, by the way, not Disney.

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Back to business.  I set up my gear…

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Spibelt (one of my favorite OpenSky purchases), heart rate monitor, water, and Vega Endurance gel.  So much equipment for such a simple activity.

And then I was off for a drive through the beautiful wine country of St. Charles and into Klondike park.  Time for my first ever real trail run!

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I’ve been enamored with trail running for a while now, especially thanks to books like Born to Run, Running on Empty, and Eat and Run. And, frankly, I’m sick of running in my subdivision. I wanted to take a jaunt in the thick of nature. And did I ever.

 

I brought a copy of this map with me, and had my run about 85% planned. However, I’m quickly learning that, during trail runs, nature is much more in control than the runner.  It was hard enough just figuring out where I was, much less sticking to my plan.  Oh well, at least I didn’t get stranded and lost somewhere.  {thank goodness for smartphone GPS]

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[One of three killer hills.  Up and up and up. These were pretty impossible to run; in fact, just walking made me more winded than 5 miles of running}

My favorite part of the run was a three mile stretch of winding, deep forest trail.

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Technically speaking, the path, which was often a foot or less across in width, was extremely dangerous.  One misplaced step would have sent me tumbling down the hill of thick trees.  The treachery was exactly what made it so fun: dramatic elevation changes coupled with tree limbs and creeks to jump all kept me hyper-aware of my body and its surroundings.  Also, I was strictly music-free for two reasons.  1. I needed to be able to listen for wildlife and other hikers lest someone gets trampled/eaten/raped. Yikes.  2. I wanted to hear nature because, at my grandma house, the only thing one ever hears is the construction going on next door.

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I also spent a few miles on the Katy Trail.  I passed some cyclists, but didn’t see any other runners.  I really hope they weren’t all on treadmills.

At one point, I turned a corner and stumbled upon this:

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Complete with a glittering sandy beach!

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And check out the new compression sleeves.  Their supposed to improve blood circulation during and after runs, thereby decreasing soreness and maximizing muscle endurance.  They feel pretty nice to me, and I’m not sore at all today, so maybe they work. Has anyone else tried them?

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Around mile 7 I tore into my Vega Endurance Gel.  Nasty. I only ate about half of it.  I’m no stranger to gels, which are, by definition, strange.  I normal go with GU, but I figured the Vega brand would be better.  It was raspberry flavored, but I really didn’t like the lumpy, seedy texture.  Just couldn’t do it.

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Klondike Park Run: 10 miles.  I probably walked a total of 1.5 miles, especially during huge hills and while I was taking pictures.  I can’t wait to get back out there!

Afterward I treated myself to lunch.  All I wanted was a falafel salad from Mario’s  and a refreshing iced coffee.  And a new Runner’s mag!

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A few hours (and a nap) later, Sean came to visit, and he took me out to Sub Zero Vodka Bar. It was my third visit, which is weird because Sean and I rarely repeat restaurants and are always trying new places.

 

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The drinks alone are worth it. Mine tasted like banana nut bread; Sean had a milk chocolate martini because he likes to channel his inner {overage} child.

 

For dinner, we split a pita and hummus appetizer, as per usual. Yeah, there’s no picture because I just wanted to demolish it.  By the way, anytime there’s hummus on a menu, Sean and I order it.  It’s our rule.

Sean got a falafel burger.  I almost got one, too, until I said I’d already eaten falafel for lunch. His response: “Can you even have too much falafel?”  Good point.  Anyway, I ended up getting the Southwestern Veggie Burger. 

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Top burn removed, innards consumed. There was avocado, too, but that was long gone by the time I remembered to take a picture.

The rest of the night was low key and involved lots of me beating Sean at Bananagrams. Yup, we’re both in our 20’s and are more likely to stay in and play games than have a crazy night on the town.

On a completely unrelated note, please stay tuned for a very important post, which will go up either later today or tomorrow. 

Have a good afternoon!

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