Choose the runs you want

By Dana Stetson

It happened the same way again. A long time ago (three or four months), Andrew Maurey told me that this year there was definitely going to be a post-holiday St. Marks wildlife refuge run. This run is a fairly regular tradition with us. It wasn’t much of a surprise.

Every year, I try to run David Yon’s Turkey Trot/15k. So this event was on the schedule from the start. And, a few days earlier, I had received an email from Fred Johnson about a possible run at Torreya State Park on Saturday. This was the rare opportunity to run a difficult course with a runner who can cause you to push a lot harder than you normally would
All of these runs sounded like a blast and who was I to turn down any? So, a marathon running weekend was shaping up. On Thanksgiving Eve, I decided the cold weather required an additional warm-up session to get ready for the big race. So, that morning quite early I started my three days of running marathon. Pre-light had two big characteristics: it was real cold, and real dark. Flashlight in hand I started with the all the clothes I could wear and still move. After about seven miles I was thoroughly warm. and on the wrong side of town for the race. After driving back over I was thoroughly cooled off. The Turkey Trot was a fantastic race with a huge turn-out. The basic three loops that intersect in the center allow you in-flight ranking opportunities as competitors pass each other several times. The early morning weather was perfect for racing, and good times were had by many. And, as we know, if you race well, the next day is hell.

As sore as I was on Friday, I was glad that this run was as far from a race as possible. A St. Marks run at any easy pace, wildlife can be ogled, and the day is savored. The quiet of the surroundings and the colors helped make it an exceptional day. Participants this year were Andrew Maurey, Brandt Foster and Wallace Randell.

Saturday morning, it was Torreya State Park day. The run would be held on one or both loops of the hiking trails. These are technical, hilly, and rooty courses that test your fitness. To these, were added the exceptional fitness of my running partner, Fred Johnson, Tallahassee’s newest ultra runner. We ran for three hours and twenty minutes, at a decent pace. Never in my life have I been so happy to see my car again. I only fell three times, and was mostly under control. The impact was not really felt until the next day when I decided to veto my participation in the normal ten-mile run. Looking back at these runs you can see we have lots of great runs all within a short travel distance from us. It’s simply a matter of putting your imagination to work and choosing the ones you want.