One of the best NJ running events of the year happened this past Saturday, the “Train”ing Run – it’s a non-competitive run where you can join a train, from the “Express” train (7:30 min/mile)to the “Caboose” train (15 min/mile), in theory timed to reach the final destination at the same time.
Last year I managed to cover 22 miles on this run, but my plan this year was a more modest 17.4 on the Commuter Train (8:30/mile). Unfortunately, on Tuesday I hurt my toe (the nail of my big toe to be more precise) – enough that I couldn’t put on shoes because any pressure on the top of the toe was painful even 4 days later. I could, however, cope with sandals so I set out on my bike and headed out for a ride along the towpath.
The path was in pretty bad shape in places following some flooding a couple of months ago, so it wasn’t easy going on a bicycle at times. At this point I was also thinking about my plan – which was to possibly run the 2.8 mile distance barefoot. I was already wary of this idea because I haven’t run barefoot in a while, and with some of the path covered in large rocks I was even more wary.
I’d had enough of bouncing around on the path on my bike so took to the road to head back to Johnson Park. Once back in the park I decided to try a short jog around to see whether the sandal strap might cause me any issues. It didn’t, so I got on the bus to go to the 2.8 mile station.
While waiting for the train to come in I changed my mind so many times about whether to try it barefoot, but I eventually decided to start barefoot and see what happened. After about a quarter of a mile it got very rocky so I put my sandals on. I briefly took them off again but only managed another tenth of a mile before giving up and putting my sandals back on for good.
I was starting to feel that I could have run more than I did so I was a little disappointed that I hadn’t. However, when I got to the finish I realized that my toe was hurting a little, so it was probably a smart choice.
As always, the picnic was fun, with plenty of beer and food. Awards are given to anyone who has a total of 100, 200, 300, 400, etc. miles over the years and to those who completed the full 34.6 mile distance. I didn’t get much closer to one of the total milestones but I definitely had fun again.
Add this run to your calendar every year – National Trails Day is on the first Saturday in June every year.