It’s been decades since I have been to Itasca State Park, so long ago that I don’t recall ever being there. So, in search of a good trail run, that’s where I drove today.
It was about noon by the time Riley and I arrived, and while he simply slept in the vehicle on the way there, he perked up and poked his head out the window the moment we arrived. About 15 minutes later, after I purchased an annual permit, we were at the parking lot for the Mississippi River headwaters.
It felt warm and humid as we bounded down a mile-long forest trail, and Riley was rewarded with a jump in the lake. A few minutes later we were back down the trail, and I was already suffering. I don’t normally get side stitches, and after a terrific run yesterday, I was a little disappointed things weren’t going to well.
Once back at the headwaters, I stopped and Riley found his little place in heaven – laying down in the trickling stream and lapping the water for a few drinks. It was surprising how many people were there. We headed down another trail, turning around when it became evident that it just wasn’t going to be a good run. Riley and I ended up back at the headwaters, where he played in the water some more. It’s too bad I needed to keep the leash on him. Once back at the lake, I took him to an isolated beach so he could chase a toy and try dragging up old sticks from the bottom.
Tomorrow, we’re heading to the high school track – about a 3-mile run each way – and I’ll look at doing some mile repeats. One of the bonuses of having some extra time on my hands this week is that I had enough time to sit down with a calendar and figure out when I’ll be doing my long runs and the types of speed training. I’ve also started reading "Brain Training for Runners" by Matt Fitzgerald.
In the past, I’ve read some of his books and articles, and like what he has to say. I’m hoping to get through the book by the end of the weekend, and I’m leaning toward using his training program for my marathons next spring.