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This weekend, I ventured out on to the trails again. Only this time, I was running.

The 13th Annual Mrs. Smith’s Challenge hosted by the Lancaster Road Runners Club wound its way up and down and around the Lancaster County Central Park. About 200 women scrambled over roots, slid down rocky slopes and squished through some marshy muck, cheering each other on the whole way. I’m not sure that my running mate Annie was as keen on the experience as I was, but even she couldn’t deny the scenic appeal.

“This sucks,” I heard her grunt behind me as we made another ascent. “But it sure is beautiful.”

Now, here’s a little secret. Just between you and me: I don’t run very fast. In fact, Michael equates watching me run with watching an injured animal try to make their way through a mud pit.

Maybe that’s why I’ve got a new crush on trail running – because my stride and my pace fit right in. I don’t get flustered by people passing me on narrow trails – two years of hiking with Michael taught me that. I don’t mind long stretches of just me, my thoughts and the woods either – again, two years with the speed hiker made me appreciate those quiet moments just as much as the friendly chatter that happens when you do come across someone that shares your pace.

During some of those silent moments on the trail this Saturday, of course my mind wandered back to some of my favorite trails from the C2C trip. I wonder what it would have been like to run that one….I wonder which National Park trails are the best ones to run?

I found a special Trails edition of Runner’s World waiting for me at home with some answers. The Spring 2011 RW lists these as its top five (links will take you to our reviews):

  1. Acadia National Park, Maine
  2. Yosemite National Park, California
  3. Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
  4. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
  5. Zion National Park, Utah

That’s a pretty good list. But I can think of a few more. What’s your favorite National Park trail to run?

I’ll share mine (or what I think they would be) later this week.

**

PS – Happy Mother’s Day, moms. Wishing moms of all kinds a peaceful day today.

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