Something new around every corner

One of the best things about running trails is the variety of scenery and terrain. It’s not just thump-thump-thump down the road.

Today’s 15K trail race  is a great example.

It was at Washington Township Park in Avon, Ind., about 45 minutes west of my house.


A shady, wide section of the Washington Township Park trails.

I had no idea that any one park could be filled with so much variety. But, yes, that’s the treat that was in store for Trail Boy!

We ran along some flat, wide trails. We ran up and down rolling singletrack. We climbed and descended difficult hills. We jumped over logs. We navigated tight hairpin turns through the woods. We powered up a 60-degree embankment a few times.  We ran across bridges, over rocks and through some loose sand.

It was something new every few minutes. So of course, it was my kind of course.

And since the DINO folks were running this race, you just know you were in good hands. You’d get a bit of everything, and the course would be well-marked and supported.

The 15K race was three loops. The 5K was one loop. I ran the three-looper.

My goal was to run strong and not get lapped by Greyhound Jon, my regular DINO buddy from work.

The morning was a bit cool, but thankfully, no rain. Greyhound Jon said he ran this race in the rain last year, which made it a sloppy, somewhat dangerous affair. Apparently, some runners slipped down muddy hills and fairly steep drop-offs.

But not today! The course was pretty, the air was crisp and Trail Boy was pumped. Well, as pumped as a middle-aged white guy can get.

I felt good on the first lap, nice and easy. Oh yeah.

On the second lap, I began to take it even easier, and slowed down on the uphills. Sure, this was a race, but why leave your breakfast on the course?

I made it to the end of the second loop without being lapped by Greyhound Jon. But a few others did fly by me — the leaders of the 15K. In fact, they blew my doors off, just  100 yards or so just before the finish line (sadly, it was THEIR finish line; for me, it was just the end of my second loop). The lead runners strained and hammered for the finish line. It was a neck-and-neck deal for first place, which made the announcer giddy with excitement. But I couldn’t get too excited. I had to run a third lap.

I settled a bit as I started the third loop. My legs were getting a bit cooked. Of course, I had started out too fast. At one point on the third loop, a sneaky root reached out and grabbed my leg, pulling me down into a crumpled heap on the dirt, scratching my left calf. Owwee!

Thankfully, Greyhound Jon was far ahead and didn’t see. But when I told him later, he chuckled.

“Where did this happen?” he asked.

“On the flat ground, down by the river,” I said.

“Flat ground. That’s a good place to fall down,” he said.

I finished in 1:22:29  — about 10 minutes behind Greyhound Jon. I was 84th out of 124 runners in the 15K.

Hey, Trail Boy never claimed to be fast. Just in love with trails.

The next DINO race is about six weeks away, in Brown County State Park, one of the most beautiful parks in Indiana. Fear not, Trail Boy will be there, and will file a race report.

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