Rail Trails & Greenways

If marathon training gives me nothing else, it will give me a true appreciation for the greenways and rails-to-trails movement. I’ve spent a month’s worth of long runs on the Northern Swamp Rabbit trail, appreciating the gentle slopes and dirt surface, comparatively free of cares. It is unbelievably nice not to need to worry (much) about cars. Sure, an inevitable out-and-back course and 5 miles in nearly straight line could be perceived as “boring,” but if an exciting long run includes near-brushes with death (Exhibit A: Captain Who Gives a Right-of-Way who lives in cross walk denial), I think I’ll opt for boring. Besides, RB and ME can be mighty entertaining. 

This weekend, I got to explore a new greenway. We went to Florida to visit my brother, and he introduced us to the Suncoast Trail. We didn’t get to explore much of it–I only had a 9-mile long run this weekend, and the trail stretches for at least 50 miles! Parts of it are quite picturesque–Spanish moss and cactus included. Other parts are less so, as the trail parallels a turnpike. It’s hillier than the Swamp Rabbit, which  makes me think that it wasn’t originally a rail line. It’s also paved, which makes it great for road biking…Husband andLil’ Brudder visited it later in the afternoon to take advantage of that aspect. So weird. Bikes. I don’t understand it. 

We also ran 6 miles on a much different trail the day before. Lil’ Brudder spoke very highly of this trail. It’s closer than the Suncoast Trail and unpaved (glorious!). Apparently he just discovered it the previous week. The sign welcomed us to “the real Florida,” so I think it’s part of a nature reserve. As we wound through a VERY secluded dirt road to find a place to park, I joked that if I didn’t know him better, I’d think he was driving us out here to have somewhere convenient to dispose of the bodies. He replied that because I know him so well, I should be more suspicious. That kid has watched one too many CSI episodes. Then, as we start the run, he lets me know that he’s learned of one more predator he needs to watch out for: panthers. I already knew that he’d seen a boar on the trail in one of his previous adventures. Rational or not, I was already fantasizing terrifying alligator encounters. Did I really need to know about the panthers? I spent the rest of the run trying not to jump every time the wind rustled the grasses in the marsh or the palm fronds. Maybe he made it up. Do you think he made it up?

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3 responses

  1. He might have made it up. And I don’t get bike, either. Past the age of like 12 it doesn’t make sense. Or I just think I’m too uncoordinated to even try in my old age?

  2. I sorta hope it’s NEVER paved. Dirt is so much better on my legs than asphalt! But either way, I’ve been fantasizing about a car-free 20-mile long run myself. 🙂

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