16.59 miles. This is officially my longest run to date. I've been following the Fleet Feet Carrboro/Durham full marathon training program, inching past the half marathon training distance with an additional mile each week on the long run. 14 miles was an iffy distance for a long distance PR - there has been the occasional half marathon race or training run that tracked a little long and flirted with fourteen. Fifteen miles was a definite distance PR but it didn't feel that substantial. But 16.59? When the watched screen popped up "New PR! Longest distance!" I grinned - indubitably, yes, that's my longest distance and I just crushed it.
27 acre woodland preserve in Carrboro offers natural trail hiking along Bolin Creek
I ran my longest distance ever this past weekend - 14 miles on Saturday morning - so on Sunday I needed a nice and easy warm-up hike with my dad before my trail run with Kelly at Carolina North. I was doing my usual scrounging around looking for green patches on Google Maps when I remembered that on the last long run in Carrboro we passed by a park sign on N Greensboro St and someone mentioned there were some trails back there. I pulled it up and sure enough: there was a little patch of green and a dotted line suggesting trails.
Sometimes when running with the training group I get this desire to sweep the pack. There's something about being at the back, chasing after everyone else ahead. Maybe I've always loved to chase things: to chase after butterflies, to chase the dogs as they sprinted through the woods like a pack of wolves, to chase a soccer ball up and down a grassy field, to chase after goals and dreams. There's something about the chase - of realizing there's something there ahead of you, to aspire to, to chase down and become. We all need that vision. We all need that something to chase.
This past Sunday Kelly and I kicked off our trail running adventures (which I will affectionately call "runventures") with Battle Branch Trail. This particular trail starts at the Chapel Hill Community Center and connects to Battle Park, a 93 acre park on campus at UNC Chapel Hill. Battle Branch Trail connects Battle Park and the Chapel Hill Community Center, and you can loop various trails together in Battle Park for a range of mileage for a great hike! Great for running or hiking, it's a great addition to the Sunday Stroll series!
If you love running and you love reading there's a good chance that eventually you'll end up reading books about running. There is so much to say about running - from the poetic to the scientific to the sometimes dry litany of training tips - and it's no surprise that running literature, while not a huge niche, at least has a deep bench. I started reading books about running by way of audiobooks. There's not much that will hype you up more about running on mile 8 of a long run than listening to all the benefits of running or all the love elite runners have for the sport. Check out my favorite running books I've read and the books I want to read!