Sunday, August 7, 2011

Point to Point

Let's face it: point to point runs can be quite inconvenient.  That is why I had never embarked on one, however, I discovered the Serenova entrance of J. B. Starkey Wilderness Preserve on 52 and knew I had to find a way to connect it to the gate just off of Starkey Blvd.  Unfortunately, I had to wait until late this summer because of the hip issue.  This run, marked in ink, had been on my summer running calendar for weeks:

Saturday: Point to Point.  Serenova- Starkey.  9mi.

Sunrise in Serenova

My route:  I meandered back on the Serenova paths for about two miles, making sure I hit all of my favorite spots.  Then, I hopped off the sandy trails and onto the powerlines path.  From there, I ran south and kept running south.   For a very long time.

The powerline path feels much more extensive than I thought it would.  Of course, I know that it cuts directly through the preserve from end to end, but I did not expect it to seem so long.  I am glad that even though much of my route was simply a gravel road following a stretch of  powerlines, it was still unbelievably scenic.  Deer (including a fawn!), rabbits, and many, many birds kept me occupied.

Looking back at where I had been

Despite all  of the beautiful paths that intersect the powerlines trail, I stayed true to my planned route.  I knew if I took a detour, I could easily add an extra few miles or more onto my total distance.   I really have no self-control when it comes to trail running.  Someone was waiting for me on the other end, so it was not the day to play.

By the time on my stopwatch, it had been about an hour, I knew that I would stumble upon the paved bike path within the next few minutes.  And then I saw it.  Or at least I saw something.  Even though I was a few hundred meters away, I  could tell that the forest opened up slightly on both sides of the powerlines.  Just then, a white shape moved across the open stretch between the trees.  A fellow runner!  I was there!

Getting there!

As I made my way up the slight incline, my pace quickened and a spring returned to my step.  Let me tell you, I have never been so happy to see the bike path.  I usually view the path as a way get in a road run without leaving the woods.  That day, it was the road home!

When I reached the bike path, the pavement felt strange to my legs.  I felt fast even though I was tired.  In need of water, I made use of the nearest water station and then found the connecting horse trails.  These were the trails I had run since the summer before I entered high school.  The next two miles felt so easy because of the familiarity of the woods.  I was home.  After nine miles, the longest run in my log since the injury, I was exhausted but exhilarated.

View for most of the run

It is a strange feeling knowing that I had no intention of going back to where I stated, at least on foot.  Usually, I am burdened by the ticking seconds of my watch.  There was no turn around point this time, just nine miles in one general direction.  When I drove back to the entrance on 52, I was surprised at how far it really was.  My kind friend who enabled  this crazy idea of mine agreed and said, "and you did it on trails!"

This isn't something I  could do every weekend because of the logistics, but it was definitely a good route and great experience.  If I do it again, I will be sure to stay on the Serenova paths for as long as possible so that I will have less time along the powerlines.  The hiking paths vary and are a nice change from the powelines, especially after that many miles of them.

After this run and passing all of those enticing trails, I now plan to fully explore all of the places I passed.  Even though I have literally run the distance of the park, there is still so much to experience!

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