I’ve been trying to meet up and run with Logan of Mountains and Miles since last fall.  We had a couple of runs planned in October but my dad got sick and I was out of town.  We signed up for a trail race together this spring, but Logan aggravated her IT Band at a 27-mile race the day before, and had to pull out of our race.

I almost made today another failed attempt to run together…  I got lost and arrived 30 minutes late.

I googled the address for Great Falls Park and then typed it into my GPS.  It took me to a private residence…  Logan typed Great Fall Park directly into her GPS and it took her to the park.  Phone service is sketchy around there, and I couldn’t reach Logan to say I’d gotten lost, and I was afraid she would take off running without me.  Finally I got a text to go through, chased down a cyclist for directions, and let her know that I was on my way!

Eventually I got to the park, found Logan, and we took off on our run.  Logan had a 22-mile training run planned and I agreed to run 14 of those miles with her.  Part of the plan was that we would be running slowly and walking up the steep hills.

It was a gorgeous spring morning for a trail run…

GreatFallsParkSun

I carried my little Canon Power Shot and snapped pictures along the way.  Here the trail ran along a calmer point in the Potomac River…

GreatFallsParkTrailNextToRiver

There were no fartlek photo sprints on this terrain, but I did ask Logan to stop and let me run ahead so I could snap a picture of her running down the hill toward me…

GreatFallsParkLoganHill

I was pretty oblivious to the signs and depended on Logan to be my tour guide.  She had a map from the North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Miler that she is running on June 7, and today we ran a portion of the race course.  If you click on the North Face link, you’ll see a picture of Logan stretching by the Potomac River on the website banner.  Pretty cool…

GreatFallsParkSigns

This boat ramp looked like the perfect spot to sit and put our beaten-up legs in the cold water for recovery, but since there’s no swimming or wading allowed, I don’t think that would have been a very good idea!

GreatFallsParkRamp

We took our first of a couple of selfies along the river when we stopped to enjoy the view.  Question:  Is it really a selfie if you use the self-timer on the camera?

GreatFallsParkLoganDebRocks

I have absolutely no idea how my shoes look so clean next to Logan’s.  We were running right beside each other and I didn’t tiptoe through the mud…

GreatFallsParkMuddyShoes

We stopped to check out the raging water at on the Potomac, and asked a lady to take our picture.  She was great; positioning us exactly where we should be so she could get the river and us in the picture!

LoganDebGreatFallsPark

Next we checked out high water marks from previous years…

GreatFallsParkHighWaterMarksLogan

And I took a picture of the marker from another angle with the river behind it so you can get a perspective of how high above the river the marker is…

GreatFallsParkHighRiveMarkRiver

We continued on our second loop and noticed this fake tree that we hadn’t noticed before.  The “branches” hid all kinds of cell towers on top of the pole tree trunk…

GreatFallsParkFakeTree

The forest floor was so beautiful in places…

GreatFallsParkForrestFloor

And I snapped a picture of Logan as she ran along in front of me…

GreatFallsParkLoganBridge

Then turned to get another picture of the bridge…

GreatFallsParkBridgeHostas

There were a few fallen trees and rocks on the trail along this section, but for the most part the trail was very clear…

GreatFallsParkFernsRocks

As planned I stopped after two loops for a total of 14 miles.  We took a quick selfie before Logan continued on to finish her run.

GreatFallsParkSelfieWithLogan

Logan sent me the elevation map from her Garmin from her full run.  I stopped just before the third steep hill at mile 15.  Our average pace was around 11:30.

GreatFallsParkRunElevationChart
When I got home, my younger son Daniel suggested we go to Burger 21 for lunch.  It sounded like a great idea for this tired trail runner!  I think it was the best burger I’ve ever had, or perhaps those 14 difficult trail miles made me extra hungry for some protein!

Burger21

After we got home from our late lunch, I lay down to rest my legs and fell sound asleep.  I woke up just in time to watch the Kentucky Derby.

 

  • Questions:
  • Have you ever visited Great Falls Park?
  • Where’s your favorite place to run trails?
  • What’s your trail running strategy?  Do you walk the hills?

 

Happy Running! ~ Deb