Monday, July 11, 2011
Since I'm laid up with Plantar Fasciitis and can't run on an actual road (the pool has got nothing on me though) - I was reminiscing about some of the long runs I took in marathon training. I think my favorite long run was on the Banks to Vernonia path. As I mentioned in my previous post, M and I are always on the lookout for new places to run. So we met somes friends and Clark (the wonder dog) to run the paved path from the town of Banks to Vernonia. One of our friends has run and biked the trail previously and knew that we could get 22 miles in if we went all the way to Vernonia lake, so that was the plan. We met at the Banks trailhead at 7am and left a car there. Since we were doing a point to point run, our friend Heather's husband drove her car to the end point and biked back home from there. The trail is completely paved and has restrooms along the way. The only thing missing? Water. Luckily, we had Clark! Heather's dog carried our water, gu's and everything we needed on the run. It was pretty awesome. This trail is really beautiful!
After the first few miles, the trail starts a long uphill for the about 10 miles. It's pretty gradual, but definitely uphill. We all stayed together until about Mile 6, and then we kind of split up according to pace. Clark pretty much ran ahead of us the whole time. Heather really should put a garmin on Clark sometime to see how far he actually runs with going ahead and coming back - it's pretty impressive. We started fairly slow, in the low 10's - but by the end we were clipping along pretty consistantly in the mid-9's. I felt pretty good and strong and really just enjoyed the scenery and the company. At Mile twelve you go down a steep hill and then climb up another one, but after that the trail goes flat or slightly downhill until the end.
I have to admit I was glad to stop the uphill. We crossed a bunch of bridges and two trestles. We also saw some wildlife! One deer, a snake and M saw a lizard. We left pretty early and the trail wasn't crowded at all, which was nice.
The trail ends in Vernonia at a park, but we continued on past the park and ran to the lake to get the extra mileage we we wanted to get. The lake was very pretty, although we didn't get a chance to look around very long (we were DONE!).
After our run we went into Vernonia and got coffee/sandwiches at Black Bear Coffee shop, which really hit the spot. This is a beautiful path to run on and I definitely recommend anyone who needs to get a long run in try it out. I will see if Clark is available to carry your water. Hopefully I'll get this PF injury cleared up soon and I will be out there running in these beautiful spots again!
I went and did some pool running this morning - it wasn't too bad! I'll post more on that later!