Why I Love the Roads

May 28, 2014

I love the roads. . . .pounding the pavement. . . .running along on even surfaces. . . . .it never gets old for me.

I’ve been running on pavement since I was 10 years old. I started out running on the country roads surrounding the farm I grew up on. They were convenient and flat with little traffic, and I could go for miles. Sure it was hard to find shade in the summer and the winds blew across the prairies in the winter, but I still loved every minute. These days I run through neighborhoods and on paved trails. The scenery is different but the allure is still the same.

DSC_0012The country roads where I fell in love with running.

Prior to moving to Alaska I didn’t know a thing about trail running and am pretty sure I didn’t know anyone who was a trail runner. Not too surprising that Minnesota does lack mountains.

But now that I live in Alaska, I often feel like I am not classified as a “real” runner and don’t receive the accolades one does who has completed Crow Creek Pass, Bird Ridge, and definitely Mt. Marathon. People ask if I’ve done any of these races or when I plan to run them, but honestly I have no desire to.

I have done some running on the trails around Anchorage, but nothing pulls me back like the roads do. I love being able to leave for a run from my house rather than spending a half an hour driving to and from a trailhead. I love being able to zone out on the roads and not worry about tripping over a root or rock. And I also like not having to worry about being mulled by a bear. Actually, this can be avoided if you run with others—which you should do when running on the trails around here, but that means I have to recruit someone to go running with me every time I wanted to hit the trails. I find it much more convenient to go when my schedule allows.

Maybe it is because I feel in love with running while running on the roads—as it often seems one enjoys running in the manner in which they fell in love with it. (For instance, my friend loves listening to music and running on her treadmill, which is exactly how she started running: running on the treadmill at her college and listening to music.) Or maybe I just don’t know any difference.

Anyway, I know the trails provide a wonderful experience for many people, and I am glad they are out there running. I just wish I wouldn’t have to justify my rational for being a road runner and really having little desire to run on trails.

DSC_0068

Today’s workout was done on the roads and the local track.

I completed a 2 mile warm and then this ladder workout on the track:

400 meters (1:39)

800 meters (3:27)

1200 meters (5:17)

1600 meters (7:07)

1200 meters (5:14)

800 meters (3:26)

400 meters (1:37)

I ran back home for a total of 8 miles for the morning.

I really like this workout because the distance is always changing and once you complete the 1600 meter distance, everything is downhill from there. I felt good throughout the workout and hope it was a good tune-up for my 6K race Friday evening.

8 Comments
    1. I love (love!) trails and run Mt. Marathon Race but can appreciate the allure of the pavement, though I dislike running on roads–It’s difficult to zone out when worrying about traffic (Thankfully we live by the Coastal Trail, such a gift). But a runner is a runner, as you pointed out. Running bear and moose-infested trails, getting bit by mosquitoes, scratched by brush and covered in mud isn’t everyone’s ideal of a great run, lol. Running is such a personal experience. Thankfully there are enough surfaces–trails, roads, treadmills, etc.,–to keep us all satisfied and happy. Thanks for reminding us all of this, Michelle.

      1. I can truly appreciate why people love the trails, but I just get frustrated when the average Alaskan doesn’t recognize me a “real” runner because I don’t run on trails.

    1. I don’t see anything wrong with it and you don’t have to justify it to anyone. Sound like snobs to me!

      1. Probably not snobs–just that most Alaskans think you have to be out there fighting off the bears while running on the trails in order to be recognized as a “real” runner here. I think most people know about the iconic trail races and don’t really pay attention to the quality of runners on the roads as well.

    1. Sorry you feel like you’re being bullied about only running on roads. Personally, I love both equally. They are practically two different sports though, like downhill skiing vs. cross country or road cycling vs. mountain biking are.

      I think you’re onto something about the way we fell in love with the sport. I began as a road runner at a very leisurely, hardly exerting myself pace. I can’t go through a training plan without those sorts of runs or I go nuts.

      Matt and I did the Crow Pass course as a backpacking trip the weekend of the race once. It’s a gorgeous backpacking trip, I wouldn’t have wanted to rush through it in one day!

      1. I don’t necessarily feel like I’m bullied–just not taken as a serious runner. I can definitely appreciate why people run on the trails. I’m glad you agree that how we fell in love with the sport still influences us greatly today. I was a competitive runner from the start and probably always will be. I do need to at least hike Crow Pass!

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