My favorite running route is the one that requires no planning, no transportation and no need to plug in. It never feels the same, it continuously challenges me — and surprises me every time. This route is right outside my front door. It’s six miles of rolling hills around the perimeter of Trout Lake in the Southern Adirondacks of upstate, New York.
When you live in an area where flat routes aren’t an option, you adapt. The rolling hills surrounding my home and Trout Lake, provide an ebb and flow which I hadn’t previously felt running in the suburbs or major cities. The landscape allows for fluidity between the uphill climbs and downhill rolls.
“I will always be challenged on this run, and that is humbling.”
The challenges I face over the course of this 6-mile route feel different every time, which is in large part why I love it so much. There is no chance for comfort, even on the days where I feel the strongest, or when my fitness level increases with training. I will always be challenged on this run, and that is humbling. If I ever begin to feel complacent, the remedy is a quick change in direction, and the run completely changes.
Apart from the challenges of this run is the reward of the scenery. Even though this is my home, the beauty of the lake never ceases to awe, and sometimes stops me dead in my tracks. Whether the lake is frozen, thawing, calm as glass or rippling with white caps, it is stunning in every season.
With the water comes wildlife, which is another pleasantly surprising encounter frequently stopping me in my tracks. On any given day, I might find myself sharing the road with a snapping turtle, deer or fox. From the road I can see bass jumping in the lake or cardinals and blue jays fluttering overtop into the woods.
As I reach the end of this route, especially during these hot summer months, the greatest luxury is being able to take my shoes and socks off and immediately slip right into the cool fresh lake water. The water relaxes my muscles, slows my heart rate and washes away the salt and stress in a matter of minutes.
Until I moved to the Adirondacks, my neighborhood route would be the type I’d resort to on a mellow night, one which didn’t require very much effort. Nowadays, my neighborhood route is never easy and never dull, but frustrating and exhilarating. It awakens my senses and makes me fall in love with the land time and time again.
Share your favorite run in the comments below.