I have spent my entire adult life living in urban environments. In those years, I’ve spent very little time in nature. I spend most of my time pounding the pavement of the streets of New York.
New York City is my home, and the urban landscape is where I am most comfortable. I love the feel of the city – the crowded streets, the bustling parks, the sky scrapers, and the street art. I love dodging cars on my bike, and running the crowded loop in Prospect Park. But recently, I’ve felt myself pulled more towards the natural environment. I can’t really explain why. Perhaps its because in the last couple of years I’ve been lucky enough to spend a couple of weekends a year here in Vermont, running, hiking and cross country skiing in Stowe. Perhaps it’s because of the pull of outdoor rock climbing, or perhaps it’s got something to do with getting old. I don’t know.
Whatever the reason, yesterday’s thirteen miler through Stowe wet my appetite for more miles in nature. I started off the run with Bernie G, who knows the roads of Stowe much better than I. He guided me through four miles of rolling hills, corn fields, and a golf course at a respectable 8:30 pace. We split up at the Stowe Farmer’s market, where I saw E and eyed the delicious strawberry rhubarb pie she was buying. Then I headed off on to finish the run solo on the Stowe Recreational path.
8:30 had been a little ambitious for the first four, so I took it down a notch for the rest of the run, dodging kids on bikes and following the West Branch Little River to the rec path terminus. Along the way, I gazed up at mount Mansfield, watched the river roll by, and checked out the local hippie art. All while listening to the Hood Internet.
From the rec path terminus, I circled back past the farmer’s market, through town and up to the house finishing 13.1 miles in 2:04:30 for an average pace of 9:31. Not bad. Not great, but not bad. All in all, a wonderful way to spend a gorgeous Sunday afternoon.
For a true trail runner, my run on a rec path today would be a joke. But for a city slicker like me, it felt like the fucking Appalachian trail. I loved it. I want more. The legs are a little sore, and it’s raining, but I’d still like to get out there, get in some miles, and spend more time in the woods before I return to the asphalt and concrete of my usual daily run.