After yesterday’s triumph I was pretty pumped about getting my long run in today. I was twice as pumped knowing that my running buddy was going with me AND we were going to take in some new scenery. I woke up early and made the roughly 30 minute drive to the state park we decided on. So excited for the forest scenery instead of the typical downtown run. I made a bathroom stop first (because,try as I might, I could not go before I left..) and met my weekend girl. She had a sweet surpise for me too! She brought me a copy of The Big Book Of Endurance Training. She had an extra copy since she is doing Project 90 for the second time. I’m super pumped about throwing myself into this book! (I’ll try to write up my thoughts about it when I’m done!) 

I put the book in the car and locked up before heading out on our misadventure. We wanted to do some trail running first so we went off to the start of the trail and set out. Not ten steps in we found that the trial was horribly muddy and we turned back. A little disappointed but we still had plenty of room to run. We took the pavement instead and we both felt like our legs were heavy as we conquered the gradual hill we had to start on. The pavement was a route that was frought with hills you didn’t expect to be as rough as they were. We soldiered on. Occasionally, one of us (usually me) would mutter something to the tune of “Oh Lord” or “Holy Cow” and the other (generally my friend) would respond in turn with “I know right?” amidst the usual friendly chit chat. We got to the swimming area that I affectionately deemed the ce-mentpond (yes, I am quoting the Beverly Hillbillys, don’t judge me.) It’s literally a man-made lake with cement. Think of a swimming pool with really brown water. We ran around the ce-ment pond and across the road to the actual lake where there was another trail. 

This trail was gorgeous! The wide lake with the grass covered levees and the beautiful sky was a welcomed sight….and then the dirt portion of the trail just suddenly disappeared. We were running in thick grass that was sopping with early morning dew. This resulted in some very soggy feet. The further we went, the thicker the grass and wetter our socks got. We sucked it up and kept going. I let out a giggle about it every now and then. We got back on the pavement and took to the route past the ce-ment pond again but added some mileage by ducking into the dead end areas. We both needed to grab our water bottles because, apparently, Arkansas does not believe water fountains are necessary in their parks. We ate our fuel packs, grabbed water and decided to brave the muddy trail. 

We quickly discovered why they named it the Dancing Rabbit Trail. It was not a trail that they intended for runners to use. Large rocks formed stairs that we bounded up breathlessly. Roots stuck out all over the place. The trail was incredibly narrow. We kept going anyway. There was a really cool bridge we stopped to selfie at.

  
 When we stepped onto said bridge, the fact that it swayed all kinds of crazy ways really threw us off. There was a sign after the swaying bridge that told us the moderate path was to our left and the difficult path was to the right. Seeing as how treacherous the path had already been, we chose the moderate path. We chose very wrong. What the sign did not tell us was that it was a big loop. We would end up right back in front of the sway bridge. We went up the moderate path, which was pretty difficult as well and down the difficult path. This meant that we had to “run” down a crazy steep downhill portion that my poor, unstable knees were not fond of. We survived the trail and went back ver the sway bridge to the grassy area in front of where we parked. We only had about 5 miles at this point and we origianlly set out to do 8. We decided to make another loop through the pavement and stop with 6 miles. 

It was a hard end to the run but we did pretty well. Our pace was kind of sad considerring it took us  almost 20 minutes to conquer the Dancing Rabbit Trail (which we both consider cross training AND running). But we got a little over 6 miles in and we didn’t die on the trail, so I consider us victorious. We both agreed, however, that we will run in town next weekend and maybe do a road trip somewhere else for our next trail run. I wish I had gotten more pics because, all in all, the scenery was very pretty. Arkansas does have some great state parks to discover but I was concentrating on living to tell this tale. 

When I got back in town, I called up my mother in-law and asked if she wanted to go for a walk. She has some health issues and has been talking about training for a 5k (or a mini marathon, as she calls it). My father in-law always wanted her to do a better job taking care of herself and I knew she had been feeling kind of down, understandably. I expected her to try to make up some excuses but she didn’t. She was a little hesitant because I woke her up but she agreed to go. I told her what time I would be there and she said she would get ready. We went for a nice, slow walk. She had a mini stroke about this time last year, so it was not an easy feat for her. She did it, though! She walked a full mile and did not complain! It was slow and easy and she did wonderful! She was so proud of herself and I am still incredibly proud of her. I hugged her, told her I was proud of her, and made her take a selfie with me (of course). I timed her because I wanted her to see when she improved. My heart was so happy when I actually heard her say “Well, I think I could do that!” when I told her how far a 5k was. She agreed to go again soon with me and even said she might go on her own! In total, I got in 7.1 miles and it has been a lovely day! 

  

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