Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Al Buehler Trail

Now that the Bronto Summit is behind me, I have a few minutes to catch up with the blog. I met a lot of very smart, very creative, very interesting people, and am leaving with a lot of great ideas. I also had a chance to go for a couple of great runs on the Al Buehler Trail.

The trail surrounds the Washington Duke Inn, where the Summit was held, and where I stayed in a very nice "old school" hotel room. The trail map was a little complicated on paper -- which made me worry that I would get lost... so I actually carried a copy of the map in my back pocket.

The first time I ran it, on Monday afternoon, I ran counter-clockwise because that's the way the miles were marked on the map. Besides, I do like to stay to the left whenever possible. :) The trail is packed dirt and winds through the woods in a loop around the golf course... which led me to believe that it would be flat. Nope. Lots of rolling hills pretty much the whole way round.

It was lovely and shady, which was good because I had dressed too warmly -- I had a long-sleeved top over a tank -- and I ended up being very, very sweaty when I got done. The best part of running on the trail was that it was well used -- there were lots of run-walk groups, families out walking, and folks out for a run. Being on a university campus, they had lots of emergency phones, which for some reason makes me more nervous than soothed.... but it was nice to have lots of other folks out enjoying the nice evening.

I believe the trail was marked in quarter-mile increments, but as usual I missed several of the markers. (Typical.) I was pacing myself about 15 yards behind two men -- on the uphills they would get a little farther ahead, but I would catch them on the descents and relax behind them on the flats. At one point, as we were headed up a hill, there was a weirdly loud shrieking / squawking noise. The men stopped to look, which meant that I almost caught up with them. i said, "Umm... is it a carnivore?" The one man said, "Those are owls!" in a sweetly excited voice. The second man said, "Technically, yes. Carnivores." But we agreed that we weren't what the owls wanted.

There was one point where I felt unsure of which way to go -- the other forks were between a main and a smaller trail, but this one was pretty evenly divided. But luckily the hotel was visible to the left, so I just stayed left.

I finished up, all sweaty, and headed back in to the hotel looking extra bonus awesome. Now, sure, there were lots of old men in ridiculous plaid shorts... but I looked a mess. I rode the elevator up to my floor and when the doors opened, I *thought* it was my pal (and account manager) Jess, so I smiled and said, "Hi!" But, of course, it wasn't Jess... and this poor woman was shocked. Hee hee.

Again, I didn't run the rest of the summit -- but I ran yesterday. This time I ran clockwise, though I don't think the route was any easier or harder. Though it was earlier in the day, there were still lots and lots of people on the trail.

I'm now on the train going to Richmond, Virginia, to head out to the Park 2 Park Half Marathon in Waynesboro. I am starting to think that I should have taken a nap on the train...


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