Although Mike and I have kept up a pretty regular running schedule, we haven’t run any farther than 8 miles since the Richmond Marathon in November. We usually try to run 5 miles on Sundays with Big Boss Brewing Run Club, 4 miles on Wednesday with Blue Run Club, and 5 miles on Thursday with Runologie. If we don’t make it to all three, I’ll run 5 or 6 on my own.
We’re working on building out our spring race schedule. But so far, our longest race, the Raleigh Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon, isn’t until April. We don’t really need to start training for that yet. And really, we don’t train too much for half marathons since we’re keeping up a solid running schedule; we just up our weekend mileage as the race gets closer.
Longer runs are such a different running experience than short runs. You get to a point where it becomes relaxing and peaceful. I may sound crazy but I miss our long marathon training runs. I miss getting in the zone and having time to really think. So, Mike and I decided to get to Big Boss Brewery early (at 12:15 rather than 1 pm) and run 10 miles, an out and back route on the Crabtree Creek Greenway.
We’re really appreciating the warmer weather in NC – 55 degrees at the end of January and perfect running weather.
At 14.6 total miles long, the Crabtree Creek Trail winds along the creek, through Raleigh neighborhoods and parks. We followed it northwest from the entrance near Big Boss at Wake Forest Road. The wide pathway is easy to follow with only a couple of muddy areas to navigate around.
Directions and signage (lack of) were slightly confusing when we reached Lassiter Mill Road. I checked on my RGreenway app and saw we needed to run on Lassiter Mill Road sidewalk down to the crosswalk, then cross and either get on the Greenway or head to a short Greenway at Lassiter Falls Park. We continued on Crabtree Creek Greenway, running for a short time on the typical paved Greenway before turning onto another sidewalk and heading up a big hill behind Root Elementary School. There were Greenway arrows around this area so we knew we were on the right track. We could look down and see Lassiter Falls below us; we’ll have to check that out on our next run!
We ran on the sidewalk along Hertford Street lined with beautiful houses. The Greenway entrance was a little tricky to spot; no fancy pillar signs like in Cary. We walked down the rustic wooden staircase with a bike ramp and discovered the Greenway trail to be a narrow packed dirt (and very muddy after the recent rain) trail with roots sticking up. After a quick Google search, I found a blog that described a way to bypass the dirt trail and link back up with the Crabtree Creek Greenway.
Just up the street at the end of Hertford, we turned right on Transylvania Ave and then another right onto Allegheny Drive. Allegheny Drive, though not a Greenway beside the Creek, was scenic and gorgeous, lined with Southern-style mansions. There’s no sidewalk so you have to run in the road but I don’t think we saw one car. It was pretty hilly so I was glad to get back on the fairly flat Greenway around mile 4.5.
The Raleigh Greenway signage is not as fancy as the Cary Greenway signage, but we were able to spot the entrance and ran about half a mile further, running under highway 440 before turning around at mile 5.
Since we planned on a 10 miler, we brought gels and took them at the turnaround point – our first gels since the Richmond Marathon! Is it weird that I’ve grown to actually enjoy gels (in select flavors)? I had one of my favorite gels, GU Salted Watermelon, which tastes like a melted down Jolly Rancher. Since I carried the gel in the zippered back pocket on my capris, the gel got pretty warm and also became more watery, rather than the usual very thick consistency. If you don’t like the thick consistency of GU gels, I recommend carrying them close to your body so they warm up a bit.
The 5 miles back to Big Boss Brewery seemed to fly by! The energy gel and my Nuun (energy lemon-lime) helped provide a boost of energy towards the end. I finished up my TED Talk podcast and finished the run listening to music. We had a pretty good pace for our first long run since Richmond: 8:19 average for me. We’re going to plan on getting to Big Boss early on Sundays and run 8-12 miles for the next couple of months leading up to the Raleigh Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon. I think, even if not training for a race, I’d want to run a longer distance on the weekends. It’s a different type of running from the 4-5 mile distance. I have time to really get in the zone, relax and get that runner’s high.