Running with the big dogs

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve run with friends, so this morning’s seven-miler at Town Run Trail Park was a fun way to start the day.

I ran with Terry and Steve, two experienced trail runners about my age who have plenty of trail marathons and ultras under their belts.

terry and steve 003

Apparently, I was out of uniform, as I was the only one not wearing a black shirt and bike shorts, like Terry (left) and Steve (right). That's my Jeep behind us.

We met at 7:30 a.m. at the park (about two miles from my house) and hit the trails.

Steve and Terry have raced and trained many miles together. I met Terry last month at Fort Ben, and we’ve tried to get together for a trail run several times in recent weeks, but our schedules just didn’t mesh.

Today the stars aligned and we were able to make it happen. This was my first time with Steve.

Running this trail — a mountain bike loop that I’ve run plenty times, mostly alone — was Terry’s idea. I was surprised that the park was open today. It was closed for most of June, following heavy rains that turned the trail into a mudpit. 

But today, the trail was completely dry and perfectly runnable.

Steve and Terry are both strong runners. Terry, for example, finished the Tecumseh Trail Marathon in just over four hours, and I’m told his road marathon PR is about 2:30. (I didn’t get Steve’s numbers, except to hear that he finished the Run With Foxes, a hilly trail half-marathon, in about two hours in May.) 

How serious are these guys about trails? On July 18, while I’m running my Big Race (a mere 50K), Steve and Terry plan to do a 50-mile, unsupported training run from the Morgan Monroe fire tower to Yellowwood Lake and back.

The winding trail at Town Run Park is a lot of fun, with short sight lines and a smattering of hills.

Are they training for anything special? No, they just like to do long training runs. So they’re my kind of runners.

The weather was great this morning: cloudy skies, a cool breeze (60 degrees, maybe) and low humidity. We had the trail mostly to ourselves. I saw no other runners, and just two cyclists. We kept up a decent pace, probably 8:30 a mile.

We finished the loop in 1:04, then I had to scoot home to get ready for work.

Steve and Terry waved goodbye and set out for a second loop. I wished I could have joined them. My legs could have used another hour on the trails.

But I couldn’t afford to be late for work. With more layoffs heading our way next week (the third or fourth round in the last 12 months), I don’t need to give my editors any extra reasons to put my name on that  list.

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LOOKING AHEAD: The long run

We’ve got a three-day holiday weekend coming up, so I’m going to do my last three-hour training run in the days ahead, probably on Saturday.

I’m thinking about heading back up to Westwood Park to do two loops on the 10-mile bike trail. Other options include Eagle Creek and Three Lakes Trail.

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