All this talk about breathing, maybe what I need is a breather, I thought, as I trudged up another rolling hill of the Mingo Trail at Sand Run. My legs did not feel fresh, despite a day's rest.
The run started off a bit auspiciously, as my usual parking areas were closed off for whatever reason, and I wasn't about to turn around to park at one of the main lots I had already passed. That would be dumb. Instead, I parked by the ford, which you may recall from past Akron Marathon reports.
The problem, though, was the three-car parking area is just beyond the water crossing, which cut me off from the trail I wanted to run. Unlike during the marathon, when there's a footbridge over the stream, crossing would be a challenge. I didn't want to start my run with soaked feet.
I climbed a small mound. The stream bed provided a good landing area. A sand bar jutted out from the far bank and squeezed the flowing water into an "I think I can make that" width. The leap wouldn't make anyone forget Bob Beamon, but it was enough.
The trail lay beyond a short climb through some marshy underbrush. Let's not find any ticks or poison ivy or anything, and don't lose your shoe in that muck, I said under my breath.
Once the trail was under my feet, I clicked on my running app. It showed a marker for my location, but there was no map, just a dark blue background. You all know the feeling. I waited there like an idiot, restarted the app, but still got nothing but a field of blue. Whatever. I hit start and hoped my phone would find me.
A few minutes later, I check to see what my app was doing. It still showed only blue, but it seemed to be tracking my distance. That would have to do.
The first set of rolling hills turned my legs to goo. Monday's speedy run on the Buckeye Trail had done a real number on my calves. Decision time: All uphills will be walked, not that I really had much choice other than turning around and going home. That would be lame.
Even though the trail formed a loop, I kept my timer running. If I didn't make it to a certain point before it went off, maybe I would turn around and go home. It's nice to be surprised.
I didn't expect to be that far when my watch sounded after 20 minutes. I was making good time. Also, I had to pee.
There are facilities on course, but who wants to stop when you got a good thing going? What's the worst that could happen? (Maybe I should ask Paula Radcliffe or Jerry Seinfeld.) Passing the outhouses, I pressed onward.
And you know what, my tired legs still managed a sub-13-minute pace. Considering my trail running pace has only been under 12 minutes once all year, this is what counts as speedy these days.