Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hilly Trail Run

There's a nearby-ish park called Sourland Mountain Preserve and it's awesome for a little hike.  

My husband and I have brought the pup there several times to tire her out.
Back in the day when I babysat, I brought the boys there to tire them out :)

Last time I was there hiking (early this summer) I decided I wanted to return and attempt a "trail run" on the parts where it is safe to do so.  And as summer is sadly coming to an end, I decided now was the time to do it.  Friday it was cool in the morning and I had lots of time to spare so it was a good day for it.

Before leaving, I made a smoothie.  Have you ever cut a kiwi the "wrong" way?  It looks weird.

I didn't take any photos as I went.  But I threw in one kiwi, some honeydew melon chunks, maybe 6 oz of almond milk, about 1 banana's worth of frozen banana chunks.  Ta Da:

I filled up my camelbak handheld bottle (though the backpack might have been a better option.  But I was wearing a tank top and I learned from Alyssa that a camelbak backpack will chafe your back if not wearing a t-shirt.  So handheld, it was.  I packed some black cherry Clif shot bloks.

I was supposed to do a hill run: 1 mile easy, 5 miles including 5x[2 minutes uphill], 1 mile easy.  I think this counts for something though:

I ran up every incline.

It took me just under 15 minutes to go up the hill for the first mile to get to the big boulder field.  Last time we brought the pup it took us about 38 minutes to get to the top.  It's not just a dirt path, it looks like this:

I will admit, this one's kind of an illusion.  There is space (--barely, front to back) to fit between the giant boulder on the left and the tree on the right.

Then once it got a little less rocky, I got a little too overconfident on some flatter ground and tripped over a root.  Real nice, Amanda.

I scraped my left knee and my left hand.  Actually, my left elbow too, but I didn't realize it until later.  I was most mad about landing on my right hand with attached water bottle though.  Because as I fell, I squeezed my water bottle.  It was like I was watching in slow-motion as I squeezed several ounces of water out of my bottle before I realized I had to let go of the bottle.  Oh well.

There's a creek down there to the left.


View from the "Texas Eastern Pipeline" clearing that runs through the park.

Looking mostly east but just a smidge north (like between 2 and 3 o'clock, but closer to 3 o'clock) I could see tall buildings and what looked like a tall suspension bridge on the horizon - to the left of the tiny speck of white you may or may not be able to see near the horizon.

 {click picture to enlarge}

So I was in the lower left corner, looking in the direction of Perth Amboy, maybe a little more north.  
I wonder if I was seeing part of NYC?  Who knows.  

If I brought my real camera you'd be able to see the skyline better in my photo.  
(Actually, if I brought my real camera, I would have fallen on it).

I read here and here you can see NYC from where I was on a clear day.  So I don't think I'm crazy!

Back to running. 
Whoops! There's another root with my name on it.  Or was it the stone that got me...

Just a lot of dirt this time.

6.55 miles later, I was done.

 Despite stretching at my car and again when I got home, my calves were sore until Monday.  I say it's partially the hills and partially the Merrell Pace Gloves... Not unexpected though.

2 days later.  Try not to look too closely, the scab made it even harder for me to shave my knees (and I already do a terrible job).  There's even a bruise that showed up on the top of my knee cap.  Fun!

Despite falling (not once, but twice), it was a beautiful day and I still enjoyed myself!

Do you run in parks? 
Do you have a favorite park to hike or run in?


  1. it looks awesome (minus the bumps and scrapes)! holy hills - that is quite the workout!

    i love valley forge national park. so absolutely gorgeous...and hilly :)

  2. Despite all of the scrapes, that looks like such a beautiful place to run! Hope you heal up soon!

  3. Those trails look gorgeous! I bet you had a good time =)

    I like to mix up my routes- road, sidewalk, treadmill, trail... unfortunately there aren't too many parks around me :/

  4. That is one heck of a run! Geez!

    I don't run on trails because I'm disastrously clumsy (I fall off treadmills, and ALWAYS trip hiking), so I stick to the roads. Nice job!!

  5. That trail looks so fun!! If I lived closer, I'd be all over that. That's an awesome run for a weekday! When I do trails, it takes me forever. 7.5 miles on the trail is easily 1:30.

    That dog stroller thing you sent me is HILARIOUS and I totally want to make one now. :)

  6. Ah that's so cool you can see nyc from all the way out there. I love trail running though when I get tired I stop picking up my feet as high and stop paying as much attention. Ultimately I face plant. The scenery is great and even though I works different muscles, it doesn't seem so hard on the body.

  7. I run in a local park (paved) but my favorite thing to do is to run in a nearby forest called Bent Creek Experimental Forest. It has tons of trails, easy flat ones to long hard and steep routes. I invested in good trail running shoes and it's just my favorite thing to do.
    I also run a lot on the Mountain to Sea Trail which goes right through Asheville, NC. SO either way I'm 15mn away from trails.


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