My miles with Bella have been a little low and slow these past two weeks. Over the last few months, I’ve been working toward a virtual 25k, which I ran last weekend. So the week leading up to those 15.6 miles was a low-mileage week, as was this week. And I have to say, I felt tired this week. I’ve been steadily adding miles (more than 160 miles of running and walking for the month of January) and I think it finally caught up to me. Bella was also a little off this week with some tummy trouble, so it was a good time to slow down a bit.
Today called for a 6-mile run but I opted for less. Bella and I joined a friend for a short hike on a new-to-me trail in Montgomery County—a portion of the Seneca Creek Greenway Trail. Part of what we hiked is also part of the Montgomery County trail system that encompasses those 100 miles of trails I spoke of in my last post (and that we plan to tick off throughout 2021!).
We did a short out-and-back hike, but it was very pretty as it meandered along the Great Seneca Creek with lots of pretty photo opportunities.
Despite the number of cars near the trailhead, the side we hiked on was very quiet. The opposite side of the creek seemed to have more mountain bikes. From time to time we could hear them hootin’ and hollerin’.
I will admit that early on in the day I beat myself up for not getting my 6-mile run done. After all, it was on the calendar! But in the end, this easy, pretty hike was just what I needed. And it was a great opportunity to find a new trail (not too far from home) that I can return to for a run.
And following the theme of easy … I ended the day with a cocktail from my favorite—McClintock Distilling.
Last week I talked about my 2021 word—wonder. I also mentioned that I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. And while that is true, I do still have goals. That’s not the same thing, right? Anyway, the 2021 goal that I set for myself was to run/hike/walk at least one new place each week. After several weeks of holiday downtime, in which I found myself discovering loads of new trails, that goal seemed like no big deal. I even managed a new location during the first full week of the year (Blockhouse Point, also discussed in last week’s post). But Week 2 of 2021 proved a little more challenging when it came to my schedule and I got off track. Or did I?
I’ve been super fortunate to have a few clients in my new business venture, MellaceWrites. So this last week found me running closer to home with less time to travel to trails. And for the record, I’m absolutely not complaining! I’m so grateful to have the work and be off to a wonderful start. So, instead of beating myself up for not meeting my goal, I found new ways of looking at things on my normal #mileswithbella. Like this funky mushroom growing on the side of this tree…
Or this branch that I never noticed before on these pine trees that I’ve photographed so many times…
Or seeing the sunset from a new angle as I moved off the path to let another walker pass safely by…
My long run this weekend was also going to be on a familiar trail at Black Hills Park. That was until my friend and I arrived to find the trails closed for a managed deer hunt.
My immediate reaction was one of disappointment. I really need to psych myself up for my long runs, so this was a real buzzkill. There is another park within a 20-minute drive, which was my first thought, but my friend didn’t miss a beat and suggested we try a new-to-me trail that was just across the road—the Hoyles Mill Trail.
I had been looking forward to the original trail that skirts a beautiful lake offering views like this right from the start…
But our new plan didn’t disappoint when we were immediately greeted with this sunrise view…
From there, we ran along single-track trails, country roads, and more open fields. It was a fantastic variety of views and terrain and lots of water crossings, which I love.
The really cool thing about this adventure was that it took us through three different parks: Black Hills Regional Park, Hoyles Mill Conservation Park, and Schaeffer Farms, which is part of Seneca Creek State Park.
And what’s even more exciting, is that these parks all link together as part of a much bigger Montgomery County trail system—one that encompasses 100 miles of trails, many of which I haven’t done (yet!).
So, while I was ready to accept that I had missed this week’s goal, I will admit that I’m really happy I didn’t. And I learned that a trail-closed sign isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, it led us to an unexpected adventure, and some new trails added to my “wonder list.” There’s a life lesson in there, isn’t there?