"It's a little self indulgent..." - My mom
"After I read a sentence, I get mad at myself for caring what you're doing." -Karl Dusen

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Favorite Runs outside of Pittsburgh #5

Ohio is famous for its long expanses of nothing, punctuated by the morass of ego in Columbus that subsides after a semi-regular defeat to the University of America's Wang. The state was named after Gerrard Ohio, first governor of Colorado. If you're looking for significant hills, you're generally out of luck, because Gov. Ohio refused to export any back to the east.

In this wasteland of broken dreams is hidden a gem, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Centered around the Cuyahoga River, it's never cold, because the burning river keeps runners and bikers warm year-round.
In all seriousness, I enjoy Cleveland. I haven't run this one in a while. My grandmother used to live in Brecksville, a great suburb to the south, with an arm of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park nearby. The towpath trail has accurate mile markers, pleasant surroundings, and low traffic. Even a few inclines dot the terrain.

The trail is mostly paved, but open 24 hours. It stretches more than 30 miles between Cleveland and Akron, but I frequently started around the 17 mile mark and headed seven miles south to Penninsula and back.

The last time I was there was not to run, but to take my then-92-year-old grandmother for a walk. Her mobility was limited at that point, but her short-term memory wasn't great, so I was able to convince her that we had just started walking, when we had really been out for a half hour or so. If this in anyway accelerated her decline a year later, I am still glad I pushed her, because it was a beautiful day and she told me on several occasions that she was having a great time. We sat down at a bench and toyed with an inchworm. We would let him walk across our hands, then onto another hand, putting him on what amounted to a treadmill. My grandmother remarked about how it tickled when the inchworm walked across her hand, and she laughed about how he walked so much but didn't get anywhere.

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