Monday, September 20, 2010
The Trail Running Project
My wife and I really want our kids to be healthy, so we try to give them a balanced diet, limit their screen time (TV, DS, Wii, etc.), and push them outdoors as much as possible. Sometimes they just don't want to go. Yesterday, after my daughter's soccer game, I took my son for a run. He grumbled and delayed, but finally we were off. Almost immediately, he got a cramp and wanted to walk. We walked for a while and I asked him if he wanted to go home or continue on. I sensed he was wavering, so I told him that we were headed for Maple Grove, a small forest preserve near our house, where there is a really nice trail, probably about a mile and a half or so. He agreed to continue on.
As soon as we hit the trails, he visibly relaxed. I could tell he was starting to enjoy himself. Even though the running wasn't easy, he kept it up and we talked about trail running vs. road running. I urged him to keep an easy, even pace and that reassured him that he could finish the loop. Pretty soon he was searching out logs to jump on or over. As we headed out of the woods and back onto the sidewalks, he planned on running home. I let him know that we would be stopping well before home in order to cool off.
When we finally stopped, it was almost 38 minutes total, including the brief walk at the beginning, and almost 3 3/4 miles. He appeared proud of himself and agreed that the trail run was much more enjoyable than running around the block.
We talked about it some more, planned on running some more trails and...The Trail Running Project was born. Our plan is to run all the trails in the Du Page County Forest Preserve system, inviting the rest of the family as they are available. This blog will chronicle our attempts to complete this plan. We won't limit ourselves to just the Du Page collection of parks, but it's a nice jumping off point for us.
Maple Grove is a small preserve located on the near southwest side of Downers Grove, IL. It is about a mile or so away from our house, so is an easy run to get to this modest trail. Though not long in distance, this trail offers a variety of terrains, running surfaces and is densely wooded, so it's a good respite from the more urban surroundings. Attached to the prewerve is Downers Grove's Gilbert Park, which has a jungle gym, picnic shelter, and a baseball/softball field. Other baseball/softball fields can be found at the south end of the preserve. Two parking lots are more than ample for the amount of traffic this preserve sees.