As any runner will tell you, adaptability and flexibility (both in the body and the mind) are important qualities to possess. There are times when one needs to adjust plans, strategies, and schedules, and seemingly more often than not these modifications are unexpected or last-minute. Such adaptation may come to play in numerous facets of a runner’s life from training all the way to race day execution.
Sometimes you need to be able to adapt in a big way such as when an injury forces you to take some time off from running. Other times you need to make smaller adaptations such as finding a different time to run when life happens and prevents you from running during your initially targeted time slot.
Still other times you need to be flexible enough to find some other running terrain when your first choice doesn’t pan out. This was the predicament I was faced with yesterday!
Ok, I know that I wasn’t faced with an end of the world type scenario, but I was still bummed out about the situation and thus I’ll say I employed some serious adaptability! (sorry to you, the reader, for being subjected to the whims of a blogger in such a dramatic mood)
According to my trusty marathon training schedule, I was slated to run 8 miles yesterday in what would be the last taper run before my marathon this coming weekend (how did that happen?). Using my second to none mathematics skilz (hey, I didn’t say anything about spelling prowess), I calculated that a perfect site for my 8 mile jaunt would be the Wannamaker North Trail given that this trail is an 8 mile loop. Perfect!
Well, it would have been perfect aside from the fact that the Wannamaker North Trail has a tendency to be shut down anytime that there is any precipitation more significant than fog (as the trail is primarily used by mountain bikers and thus the county is rightfully cautious so as to avoid significant and possibly irreparable damage secondary to use in adverse weather conditions). Even though it rained fairly heavily on Saturday afternoon and early evening, I somehow deluded myself into believing that the trail would still be open Sunday morning. Further feeding into and solidifying my delusion was the fact that the trail website (which is updated religiously…or so it seems) continued to state that the trail was still open all through Saturday evening.
Thus, upon checking the trail status the next morning (still open!), I headed out to the trailhead. I thought about brining some road shoes along with the trail kicks I was wearing (you know, so as to be prepared in case a trail with a tendency to be closed following rain is actually closed following rain), but then decided I wouldn’t need them (hello, any logic or reasoning anywhere?). Upon driving along the back road leading to the trail, I noticed numerous puddles (an ominous sign for a trail with a nasty tendency to be closed) but continued to keep a positive attitude. However, as you can guess, this positive attitude was very soon crushed by a big ol’ red trail sign reading “Trail Closed”. It could have just as easily read: “Heart Broken” because that’s how I felt. Wow, this has really taken a dramatic turn…
Not to be deterred, I set out for a greenway type system I had driven by on prior occasions when heading out to the Wannamaker North Trail. After performing some Google Maps recon, I found that this greenway-ish entity was the Crowfield Plantation “leisure trail”. I also found that there is an annual 5k held on this trail of leisure (not relevant to today’s tale, but a fun fact nonetheless).
After getting my bearings and ascertaining where I could link up with the trail system, I headed out to throw down my 8 miles (in trail shoes…which was less than ideal). Footwear aside, this greenway system offered up a nice run with great shade cover, infrequent road crossings, and the occasional rolling, gentle hills. There were a bunch of other runners and cyclists out getting their fitness on, but the greenway never seemed crowded at any point. I also learned that the Crowfield Plantation space is synonymous with a whole bunch of nice houses in different developments and that it contains its own private lake. Now that isn’t too shabby!
What’s the moral of this story? If it even looks like it may rain, the Wannamaker North Trail is going to shut down at least for the next 24 hours.
Oh, and that adaptability is important!