Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Virginia is for Runners

Run Happy Halloween
Running in Virginia is a lot different than running in Texas. The most noticeable difference is the temperature. Texas is blazing. Virginia is not. It's less humid here than it is in East Texas despite being minutes from the Atlantic Ocean. It's much cooler here earlier on in the summer. In Texas, summer rarely ends, and if it does, it's usually because of some kind of weather anomaly like severe snow. And by 'severe snow', I mean snow that northerners see everyday during the winter months but Texans can't handle and apparently causes them to forget how to drive or survive. Another good thing about running in Virginia is that there are plenty of sidewalks. Not only that, they are on both sides of the street and they don't end in less populated areas. There are more people outside in Virginia running, walking, and generally being active than in East Texas. When people see a runner in East Texas, they look at them like they just saw an escaped zebra from the zoo. They just can't believe someone would exercise in the heat.

That's not to say that I don't miss some things about running in East Texas though. For one, I miss the runners of the Lufkin Area Pacesetters (LAPS). Runners in East Texas are a rarity, but we're out there. LAPS is to the East Texas runner as an AA meeting is to the recovering alcoholic. We go for camaraderie, support, and acceptance. It's a great group of people. I also miss the SFA Experimental Forest. I didn't find it until the end of our stay in Nacogdoches. It's pretty far away from where we lived, but it's a true gem of East Texas. If it had been a little bit closer, it would have made up for the general lack of sidewalks. Running through SFA's campus was also a great thing about Nacogdoches. The campus is big and beautiful and has part of the Lanana Creek trail running straight through it. Sometimes, you don't appreciate things like that until you leave.

The racing scene in Virginia is pretty big, but I'm hoping to find more gems in Virginia than just big races and running clubs that charge dues. Today's running quote explains it well: "There is no better way to experience a place than to run it. You get to experience the deep crevices of an area, the senses beyond the visual, something you would never do if you didn't run." -Tawnya MacNeil, Runner's World Challenger


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