The hardest part of a long run is sometimes finding a place to run the long run.
There are plenty of nice, quiet country roads around my house that stretch for miles. Unfortunately, they may very well stretch up for miles.
It’s not uncommon at all to hear cyclists talk about routes they favor because of their 1000 feet of elevation gain. This would not be most runners’ favored route. And, what goes up must come down.
It’s always interesting to hear a non-runner’s advice as to good places to run. Their answer is usually indicative of their lack of distance perspective.
The nearest grocery store is just 5 miles away from my house. Any further and my husband would claim we live in the boondocks (really we do anyway). We don’t travel much further than 10 miles to a restaurant for lunch or dinner and when we lived in downtown Chicago, our favorite dinner spot was only across the street.
When I traveled, I would stop at the hotel’s front desk to ask where was the best spot to run. Once the desk clerk’s eyes opened wide as she proclaimed she knew exactly where I should go. “To the end of the block and take a left. That’s a dead-end road so it’s very quiet.” That road was only a half mile long.
One of the songs I enjoy listening to when I run is “The Longest Road” by Morgan Page. The song has nothing to do with running but the lyrics say, “You go down the longest road to nowhere.” This would be about right.
I am constantly searching for the longest road and all the better if it goes to nowhere.
The longest road in the world, according to Guinness, is the Pan American highway which begins in Fairbanks, Alaska and ends in Brasilia, Brazil. It stretches 24,140 km or 15,000 miles. Given its stellar length, even this road may not be the perfect, longest road.
One of the routes I frequent dead-ends on a four lane highway. That highway has a nice bike path so I ran part of it to finish out the 16- and 17-mile runs, only to realize the severe cant of the shoulder/bike path was making the top of my foot sore and playing a number on my knees.
My husband and I set out last week to find a better long-run road.
We decided I would park at the top of the mountain by my house, run past the campground and along the creek, past the new bridge and the small waterfalls on the right, into the next town over, past the park, the fire station, the courthouse, the tennis courts and the ball park, down the sidewalk and into the next town, past its restaurants and little shops, across the highway that goes to Atlanta, to the end of the next road, which is the highway that goes back to my house, turn around, go back down the road and across the highway that goes to Atlanta, past the little shops and restaurants, down the sidewalk and back into the town before this, past the ball park, the tennis courts and the courthouse, make a right turn onto Main Street – and at that light is 19 miles.
So, that’s what I’ll do this Sunday.