Hello, old friends; goodbye, old toenail

It’s a day of saying hello and goodbye.

I’m in Ohio for Labor Day weekend, catching up with lots of family and friends, with picnics, cookouts, a visit to our old church, and a quickie trip to Lake Erie beach. 

I’m also catching up on old friends of the trail variety.

This morning, I ran seven miles at dawn on the beautiful towpath in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. I started at Lock 29 in Peninsula and trotted south to the Bolanz Road trailhead and back, plus a little extra.

This is one of my favorite sections of trail in Northeast Ohio. I’ve probably run this section a few hundred times, in training for one marathon or another, during my eight years living in nearby Akron.

The scenery is wonderful, with a rushing river on one side, steep hill on the other, and deep woods all around.

The trail was beautiful. The air was crisp. The woods were foggy.

I ran alone, and drank up all the old memories of long-ago weekends I spent here. I trained for five marathons on this towpath. It has treated me well.

I was amazed by the lush vegetation: wildflowers, cat tails, shrubbery, greenery of all types. It was great to be alive.

And great to see you again, old friend.

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I’m also saying goodbye to an old friend — one who has been giving me a lot of trouble in the past six weeks or so.

In July, while running the Buckeye Trail 50K, I bashed my right foot on a rock during the Buckeye Trail 50K. It hurt like hell, and I still had to run another six miles, while my big toe throbbed.

The toenail turned black and purple, and has been tender for weeks. 

Finally, today, it fell off, and underneath was another toenail, growing in.

It was the first time I had lost a toenail in seven years of serious running.

I just thought I would mark the occasion.

But I’ll spare you the picture.

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