Since April 2010, I’ve moved to a new living situation every three to nine months (not including the multi-week backpacking trips on the AT and the Long Trail). One of the first things I do in my new temporary city is establish my running route. It helps me adjust to the time zone, learn about my neighborhood and banish travel fatigue. Through every transition, I’ve managed to maintain my schedule.
Running at least four times a week for an hour (more if I’m training for a race) has been part of my life for years and is essential to my mental – and, of course, physical – health. Wanting to run is instinctive for me. When I see other people running, even if I’ve already run that day, my automatic response is: I wanna run!
On those mornings, I wake up excited to get out the door. That is when my energy is best, and for the rest of the day I feel the contentment of post-run bliss.
On a visit to Laramie with KRC, months before I knew I’d be living here, she introduced me to the Laramie River Greenbelt, a 6-mile path that follows the local section of the 280-mile river. The greenbelt is located on the west side of town and is protected from roads and the hazards and annoyances that go with them. Once I moved here, I knew this would be part of my route.
Garfield St. Footbridge.
To access the greenbelt, I run a few blocks west from my apartment through the old downtown, cross the footbridge over the rail yard and go three more blocks through another neighborhood. Then I can choose to go north along the path for a few miles to the terminus, turn right on the road bordering the north end of town and make a big loop back to my street. Or I can go south and stay on the path much longer, following it to the loop at that end. To make this long enough, I run the loop twice before returning. Although I haven’t clocked this distance yet, I usually maintain just under an 8-minute mile for an hour run.
Along the Laramie River Greenbelt.
This is my favorite direction since I’m on the path much longer and don’t have to deal with street crossings except downtown. It’s straightforward with few options to make it more challenging. The path is paved and there are no hills except for the up and down of the rail yard footbridge. But I love the easy access to the unimpeded trail. I also love the open views of the plains, and on clear mornings I can see the Medicine Bow Mountains on the horizon to the southwest. (These photos were taken while I was on a late afternoon walk last week.)
The local running club is the High Plains Harriers. I’ve never been part of a running club but I’m thinking about this one. They sponsor several races a year and it would be a good way to learn about other local trails with knowledgeable people.
It’s been over a year since I ran a half-marathon (my favorite distance), which was the Crossroads HM in Ft. Collins, and I’m planning to register for the Medicine Bow Half-Marathon that takes place at the end of May. I’ll be logging a lot more miles on this path in the coming weeks.