Monday, September 5, 2011

09/04/11: Kal-Haven Trail Michigan

Mot, the Boys (Danny and Steve) and I all jumped in the car this weekend and headed to Michigan.  Steve's sister has cabin on a lake, and it was the perfect escape for a nice long weekend.

With a half marathon coming up in two weeks (and because I needed to make up for the double scoop of Saugatuk Mud ice cream on a visit to the Lake Michigan shore the day before - worth it?  yes!), I made sure to pack all my running gear and use it at least once.

The day before we left town, I got online and mapped a run that would take me my scheduled 8 miles within the area of the cabin.  But, on the drive there, I noticed our road kept crossing the Kal-Haven Trail.    I didn't know what it was...but I was intrigued.

That night, while sweating a couple of pounds away in our muggy tent (it was over 100 degree heat index that day - yuck!), I got the Nook out and searched online (via some stolen wifi signal from a neighbor a couple of houses down).

Apparently the trail is over 33 miles long on an abandoned railroad stretch from Kalamazoo to South Haven.  We were staying at a cabin a couple of miles from the halfway point.  Sweet!!!!!!!

So, Sunday morning, I got up before the group (a number of Steve's family were there as well) and headed for the trail.

After applying 17 gallons of bug spray (on a scale of 1 to 10 on the "effectiveness" scale - 17 gallons of bug spray would turn out to a rate a -3), putting on my Garmin, strapping on my go-go gadget hydration belt (Amphipod rocks!!!)....I left the safety of my Jeep for trails unknown.


The nearest trail head was in town a few miles away.  Bloomingdale, MI

The one and only remaining train depot building now serves as a museum for the trail and the area...and also an information center for the trail itself. 

Here's the view looking back at the depot from the trail as it crosses the highway.

I ran from mile 16 to 20...then back again.  From Bloomingdale to Gobles, then back. 

The trail was great....but the humidity and mosquitoes were ridiculous.  The trail was 100% enclosed by trees....making it a hot, humid, tunnel of zero air movement and a mosquito paradise.  I was the main course Sunday morning. 

My legs, as usual, were horrible.  The first half of the run I averaged a 13:30 min/mile pace.  The pain was outrageous...but, as usual, I pushed through it knowing that it would go away after 3 or 4 miles. 

And, as usual, it did.  I ended the run with a 12:30 (ish) I really made up some time that second half. 

I'd love to get on my bike and ride the trail from beginning to end.  There are a number of railroad bridges and blueberry fields (I didn't see any, even though the locals assure me I ran by at least one) along the way.  But running it in the summer is miserable.  I wouldn't recommend it. 

Unless you want to be a buffet for tiny flying vampires. 

It was, at least the second half, a great run though!!!  

(Later in the weekend, I fell down the second half a small flight of stairs off of the back deck of their cabin.  Besides some bruises, and a really, really, really sore calf muscle, I came away unscathed and lucky.) 

8 miles, 1:29:34, 12:25 overall average pace (first half did run/walk 1:1 intervals...second half did my usual 2:1), Max HR 187, Avg HR 161, 900 calories, 3 pints of blood donated


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