Kal Haven Trail
When I mentioned that I was headed up to South Haven, Michigan with Adam for Labor Day weekend, Erin mentioned running/biking the local Van Buren and Kal-Haven trails. I'd heard of both but was not very familiar, so I was excited to explore. As luck would have it, the start of the Kal-Haven trail was less than a mile away from where we stayed in South Haven.
Some research taught me that the Kal-Haven trail is a 33-mile trail located on a former railroad bed which stretches between South Haven and Kalamazoo, Michigan. I ran the trail on two separate occasions over the weekend and I just loved the scenery. We are talking about woodsy, shaded gravel/dirt paths with views of the Black River, interspersed with covered bridges and other historical points of interest.
It was so peaceful and tranquil. It was such a nice change from running Chicago city sidewalks where I always have to be so careful not to get hit by hazardous cars, bikes, or baby strollers. (Don't laugh, I once nearly had a head-on collision with a double-baby stroller rounding a blind corner at full speed.)
I can't wait to explore the path more the next time I'm in Michigan. I am even more excited to check out the Van Buren trail in the future, too. (I wonder if there are any races held on either trail?!?)
Stop the Rock
I have a pretty good mixture of music on my MP3 player - anything from the Eagles to Frank Sinatra to Andrea Bocelli to Lupe Fiasco to Ted Nugent. However, when I am running I usually stick to uptempo rock music.
This recently changed in a rather unintentional manner. Long story short, I am the program director for the NAAAP 100 Awards program. One of our NAAAP 100 honorees this year is the famous pianist, Lang Lang.
|Lang Lang (hard at work)|
I happen to already have some of Lang Lang's works on my MP3 player. During one of my recent runs, one of his performances came up on the shuffle. Since I was in the midst of running, normally I would have just skipped to another rock song. But having recently learned more about his biography and background, I decided to listen this time.
WOW, is he talented. Just WOW. Lang Lang's music is described as open-hearted and emotive (which are favorite characteristics of mine from a musician's standpoint). It was enthralling to listen to while running. It put me into a completely different frame of mind. I loved how it felt to be doing something so active with my body while mentally focusing on the beauty and artistry of the music. It felt like I was using a different part of my brain. I might even describe it as cross-training the mind while running, if you will.
In case you are curious, here is the exact piece that I was listening to when the revelation struck:
I am really, really inspired by Lang Lang's music and by listening to classical music in general. I have a whole list of classical works that I can't wait to listen to while running in the future. (Examples? I happen to especially love piano concertos, and some lifelong favorites include Beethovan's Concertos #1 and #3; Chopin's Concertos #1 and #2, and Tchaikovsky's Concerto #1.)
I mentioned here that I'm usually not all that creative when it comes to my runner's fashion. I rarely ever stray from dark solid bottoms and a jewel-toned shirt of some sort.
Well, folks, that is about to change. Check out these shorts that I recently purchased:
I just love the colors. It is so energizing to look at them! Add an orange top and a pair of obnoxiously-colored running shoes (like the neon-yellow Sauconys pictured here) and I will never get lost in the shuffle.
The same shorts were available in a couple of other color selections (e.g. royal blue with neon-yellow, etc.). At the time I thought I'd just buy the one pair of shorts and see how I liked them. But they've grown on me so much so quickly that I am now wishing I'd purchased other pairs in all of the crazy different colors.
|Neon legwarmer collection, anyone?|
I'm so excited about the shorts that I'm even considering breaking the rule that thou shalt not wear anything new on race day. I am running a half marathon this weekend and really want to wear them there. But alas, better judgement will probably win out in the end over the unknown risks of severe skin chafage.
Afterwards, though, I may never go back to black running shorts.