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Forum staff reports, Published November 13 2011

Wagner: Much-needed long run offers escape from daily stresses

Slipping on my earphones, the night air was ablaze with a full moon, lighting up the clear sky against a seemingly black background.

My lungs sucked in the crisp fresh air and somewhere in the recesses of my mind, there were doubts.

Normally, I prefer to run without music, just soaking up the atmosphere and my surroundings. This night was different.

It had been seven weeks since my legs carried me beyond 10 miles and my training has been woefully inadequate for the next marathon, now two months away, let alone the 15-mile trail race staring me in the face this coming weekend.

Several months ago I signed up for a trail race series in Arizona. A few trips to local state parks and a trip to Oregon inspired the trail running challenge, and it seemed like a good way to prepare for the marathon since the mileage is typically shorter than my weekend long runs but includes elevation changes to develop lower leg power.

But then a move to Bemidji disrupted my long run schedule – promising that the first of three trail races will be a bit more grueling and challenging than originally planned.

These thoughts all filled me during my recent night run but I was encouraged by the pace, which felt fast and easy. Perhaps my legs haven’t forgotten how to run.

The moon shimmered off the lake as I ran alongside it. Soon I found the sky a deep indigo blue and it seemed hard to believe it’s mid-November in the Northland without any snow on the ground.

While those 12 miles were a much-needed reprieve from the rigors of moving to a new city and job, I count myself lucky. The next day, I took my dog Riley out to a state park, where we ran some trails in the forest.

It was the second trail run since I moved, and while the weather will soon turn, running on the dirt trails covered by grass, leaves and pine needles will be a regular routine.

If you haven’t been trail running, or have found life a bit too busy, there’s still time this year to blaze a path before the snow flies.

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Bemidji (Minn.) Pioneer Editor Steve Wagner writes a running blog, which can be found online at runningspud.areavoices.com. He can be reached via email at swagner@bemidjipioneer.com.