Now, Ohio does have a strong maple syrup production base, but not in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Maybe the heat was getting to me. The Buckeye Trail from Blue Hen falls was almost deserted, except for the family that was returning from viewing a rather pitiful water fall.
"The water's pretty low, so there's not much to see," said the man of the family. I thanked him and started bounding down the uneven asphalt, perhaps better remembered as "Beast Mode" hill.
I've gone back to wearing my New Balance Minimus Zero trail shoes, which have a ridiculous number of holes in the mesh around the toes and along the sides. They make me feel light and quick.
My legs are starting to come around, as I continue to regain fitness. Still, the first big uphill reduced me to a hike.
One of the big mental hurdles I've had as a road runner switching over to running trails is that mastery comes when you no longer have to walk. How many of us have been proud of ourselves for making it through our first marathon without walking?
That mentality just doesn't fly on trails. You take what the trail gives you, and sometimes that means a walk break. The idea is to just keep moving.
This isn't the first time this idea has been a topic for Team BHI, which was covered in the series of Viper's Trail Tips last year. Considering I only made it up to No. 3 proves I still have a lot to learn and sometimes relearn about trail running. To recap, those Trail Tips were:
These may be my core set of trail running skills. I can't think of a single run through the woods that hasn't required all three, usually with a reminder courtesy of tripping on a tree root and nearly flopping face first into the dirt.
Knock on wood: I've still never fallen on a trail run, even when the smell of maple syrup tickled my olfactory senses and distracted me from the terrain.
There was a mossy clearing just past the water crossing, near where I smelled that maple syrup, and it looked like someone had planted a stubby tree branch in the ground as a marker. It had the feeling of a gathering place.
Perhaps some maple cult met here on dewy mornings to sup on syrupy confections. Perhaps the ground was consecrated with blessed gooey goodness. Perhaps I'm a bit obsessed.