musings on running, life, and everything in between

Trying new things: Shoelaces and the Centennial/I&M Canal Trail

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I work out by the Centennial/I&M Canal Trail. I’ve never run it, but some recent chatter on a local running group made me aware that people run it. And most folks who live near me don’t run it regularly because it’s a little bit of a drive. However, I drive out there all the time to get to work and yesterday was a glorious day. Perfect for trying out something new. I spent way too much time trying to figure out which part of the trail to run and where to pick it up. I wasn’t looking to do a long run, and I hadn’t packed anything for water. That helped me settle on the Schneider Passage part of Centennial Trail. You can go here for more info/options. It’s paved, which wasn’t a plus for me, and everyone I saw on the trail was a biker. I think next time, I’ll head south as it’s more crushed limestone.

Anyhow, I parked by Isle La Cache where there’s a nature center and activities scheduled. As soon as I got on the little bit of the trail before crossing over Romeo Rd, I met a new friend. I almost stepped on it, but had moved to avoid what I thought was a large stick. Nope. SNAKE.

I have no idea what kind of snake it was, but I’m assuming it was harmless? I will admit that I did get a little nervous when it turned its head to look at me when I was taking a picture. I had visions of it striking me with deadly venom. It would have been most tragic because I hadn’t even started my run yet! Thankfully, it was enjoying the sun and not interested in me.

Alot of the run was next to a some smallish bodies of water. Most of the time, though, the water was blocked from view by the trees. There were some nice clear spots and even benches to enjoy the view along the way. This area is pretty interesting as it’s a weird confluence of heavy industry and forest. In the distance across the water was some abandoned industrial-looking structures. In some later pictures, you’ll see the oil (?) refiner/quarry (?) [I’m not sure which is which. There are both in the area].

I took Schneider’s Passage just over 3 miles to the underpass of the highway and turned around. I was intrigued by the footbridge running parallel under the highway, but I was hot, thirsty, and tired. I forgot my Garmin so was stuck with Runkeeper app, which totally kept cutting in and out on me. I still need to Google map the route so I know what the total distance ended up being. I think it was somewhere around 6.5 miles.

I have to say that I was pretty excited about running in nature. For the first 20 minutes. Then the next 40 minutes or so, I was admittedly a bit bored. I forgot my headphones–which I thought was fine. Since I wasn’t sure about safety/seclusion of the trail, I wanted to have my wits about me, and I also tried to psyche myself up to “enjoy” the sounds of nature. Unfortunately, the fact that the trail was paved, flat, and relatively straight, there wasn’t much variety in running experience. So imagine this image replicated for over an hour.

Here’s that weird contrast of heavy industry and nature again. It was on the other side of the woods and fields. It looked like some strange post-apocalyptic survivor city in the distance.

Right at the beginning of the trail was this old suspension bridge. It looked awesome against the super-blue (cerulean?) sky.

I have no idea what this structure was, but it looked cool against the sky.

My friend told me that blog readers like to see the blogger. So I took a selfie but felt stupid doing it. I was pretty hot, tired, and thirsty. My snake friend was not there when I ran by again.

And, finally, my reward for all this. I’m pretty sure peanut M&M’s and fountain diet coke are recommended post-run recovery requirements–I think I saw it in Runner’s World. Really. Ha.

Finally, there’s been this crazy viral video of the “heel lock” lacing style floating around. I’ve seen it a billion times. I will spare you another visual of it–but if you haven’t seen it, you can quickly Google “what that extra shoe eyehole is for” and you’ll find a million links to it. Anyhow, I had tried doing that years ago, and I actually disliked it. I tend to be a fidgeter with my shoelaces. One always seems too tight/loose compared to the other, and the inevitable downward spiral of readjusting is maddening. Because it was so popular, I tried it again. Yup, still don’t like it. HOWEVER, there are some upsides to changing up the way you tie your shoes for running (or other sports), so I thought I’d share them here.

With the heel lock, you can skip an eyelet for the heel lock for even more comfort! I might try this to see if I like it better.

Here, you can find a whole site, just on tying shoelaces. I’m vaguely obsessed with post-apocalyptic survival skills. For some reason, I feel like knot-tying could be one. I actually bought Mr. UnRunner a coffee table book on tying knots. I’m pretty sure it’s not been perused since that first day. Also, because I’m too lazy to cultivate my own post-apocalyptic survival skills, I keep a running list of friends who have those skills instead (Misty, the vegetarian, grew up hunting; Jill was a copy in a former life; Crystal can sail a boat; Brian has done bow hunting, etc.).

And, finally, there are a whole bunch of different ways to tie your shoes for different purposes/adaptations for running. I had a pair of shoes that were too tight across my mid-foot/arch, so I skipped an eyelet. Here’s another link if you’re curious about trying some of them. 

Anyhow, got any post-apocalyptic survival skills to offer me as a friend? Do you have weird things you think about like that as well?

Other trail runs you’ve done locally or experiences you’ve had with the Centennial/I&M Trail?

Author: runNerdier

Marathoner. Academic. Mom of 2 ankle-biters.

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