Serious trails (serious enough for me anyway)

This past Monday I took the day off work to head out on another “run in a new place” runs. I have friends who have raved about Round Valley Reservoir so that’s where I decided to go.

For some reason I chose to ignore the warning from the website: “The Cushetunk trail surface is rugged, rocky and steep in places which makes it more suitable for experienced hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders.” I still thought I could run the full length of the trail (9.1 miles and then another 9.1 miles to get back because there is no trail that loops the reservoir so the only way back is the way you came).

The morning was overcast, but warm so I made sure I had what I thought was plenty of water; a last minute shoe decision meant I put on my old, pretty worn out, Merrell Trail Gloves (not my new Trail Glove 2s). I made this decision on the basis that these were my most comfortable shoes and I didn’t stop to think about that warning I mentioned above otherwise I would have probably chosen my Vivobarefoot Neo Trail shoes.

I parked in the South Lot as instructed by the website (for access to the trails) and this is the view from the parking lot:


and this:


The trail started off pretty pleasantly, but I think if you look in the distance you can see where this is going:


A short while in I came across what seemed to be a rather steep descent with a quite a loose gravelly surface and this is where I first questioned my choice of shoe – in places these shoes are worn pretty smooth and so I slipped a little every now and then on the way down:


Soon after that the trail got rougher with some quite large stones, and some rocks jutting out of the ground and that was the second time I questioned my shoe choice:


It didn’t help me at all when I got to a steep incline also fairly rocky and I started to realize how much work this was going to be:


The hills got steep enough that I was reduced to walking up them in places which is something I wasn’t expecting, but there were some very pleasant stretches where I could run at what was a reasonable pace and enjoy my surroundings too.


After about 4 miles I started to feel that something wasn’t quite right with my hip – perhaps this was caused by having to avoid rocks all the time, perhaps it was caused by the climbs, but either way I decided it would be a good idea for me to turn around earlier than I had planned (I was also painfully aware of how much climbing I had to do on the way back).

Soon after the marked trail crossed an unpaved access road and I continued up another hill on the other side and then along and back down where I came back to the access road (at least I was pretty sure it had to be the same one) so I decided to head back down that road to where I had previously crossed it and then follow the trail back to the car. At this point I was about 5.5 miles into my run and I had already been going for just over an hour (I don’t think I’ve ever covered so little distance in that time in any prior run).

I soon came across the trail again and headed back. On the rest of the run I tried to keep running as much as possible but with the steep hills and my hip starting to yell at me on those hills there were times when it was difficult to keep going.

As I got closer to the end the sun was breaking through so the views were a little clearer.

This is one hill I didn't let beat me - I kept running the whole way.

This is one hill I didn’t let beat me – I kept running the whole way.

photo_6 photo_7

By the time I got back I had run just over 11 miles in just over 2 hours and 8 minutes – slow! (Garmin import), but this is the elevation chart so maybe I shouldn’t feel too bad about that:


A tough run, but I can honestly say I did enjoy it (despite my hip). Can I say I would run there again? That I’m not so sure about, but I think that’s mainly because I don’t want to cause myself any injury. I should probably try it again sometime, but in different shoes.

This entry was posted in barefoot running, fitness, minimal running, minimalist running, New Jersey, NJ, running, Training and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Serious trails (serious enough for me anyway)

  1. thinnmann says:

    You really do have to slow down on “serious trails”. Your attitude has to change from road running/racing. Relax, enjoy, go far, don’t get injured. You may have slipped a little downhill because you were resisting too much – let it roll; no braking. You can wear your Merrell Trail Gloves at Round Valley, and you can learn to run more lightly over the rocks to stay comfortable. By the way, the best rule is this: always try to step between rocks rather than on them, unless there is no other place to step. I might run there on Sunday morning, like 7 AM, if you want to tackle it again.

    • runninginnj says:

      Thanks for the offer for Sunday – would be tempted but we’re staying up in Jersey City for the weekend for Newport and other fun Jersey City/NYC activities. I was definitely dancing around so as to avoid the rocks, but that was less of an issue than my hip which still hurt the next morning on my drive to work – could feel it every time I pushed the clutch in.

  2. beths13 says:

    I’ve nominated you for a Bouquet of Three Award:
    Hope your leg is improving!

  3. Pingback: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… | Running in NJ

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