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Steve Wagner, Published January 08 2012

Wagner: Not all training runs are created equal

Bemidji, Minn. - Taking my time, I begin gathering all my gear.

After putting on thick running pants, a thermal top and compression socks, I begin gathering the rest of my gear.

Unlike other mornings, the weather doesn’t matter as much to me, so I strap on my watch, pull my jacket on and find a balaclava and gloves.

Seeing my intentions and knowing what’s next, my dog, Riley plops his front legs forward and stretches. It seems I still haven’t learned that from him as I disregard any thought of preparing for the upcoming 12-mile effort.

And while he knows most mornings that he’ll join me, my four-legged friend whines to let me know he wants to go, too.

Finally, after lacing up my shoes, I grab the leash, attach it to his collar and we head out into the morning light.

My disregard for the weather becomes apparent immediately, but I’m thankful.

The snow pellets, falling softly, come with winter running.

My original plan is soon modified as we take an unexpected turn. The road is desolate and soon we’re trampling up a quiet hill. When we approach a busy road, Riley and I veer into a rural neighborhood. We repeat this procedure again a short while later, heading down a tree-lined street that seems to beckon us further, over a hill and around a bend.

Unfamiliar to me, it turns into a dead end, but soon I find a forest trail, where we follow footsteps and leap over fallen trees and beneath branches.

As we return to town, my view turns to a road of rolling hills. The temperature on this Saturday morning is perfect for Riley to run and explore.

He appears to be doing fine, and this will be his longest run yet.

After dropping him off at home, I return to the street for three more miles. Normally, I’d want more but on this day I don’t want to overdo it before my marathon.

Most days I wouldn’t mind finishing the run in town, but the trip into the country and rural neighborhoods spoiled me. My thoughts turned to getting off the street and focusing on the remainder of the day’s chores.

Not all runs are created equal, and sometimes a portion of the run are so special that the rest of the miles are better left simply as numbers in a training log.


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