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Rainy ramble on the rail trail - Dateline: Cape Cod


How often do you find yourself saying "It's an easy week I only have to run for 3.5 hours." Welcome to Ultra training. So far I'm digging it. Lots of slow easy miles. Plenty of eating. All the good things in life.


Buddy the Wonder Dog and I ventured out for an easy 90 minute out and back on the Mid-Cape Rail Trail. It was as close to raining without actually raining as it can get. Nice and cool for July 5th, but still very humid and the dog wasn't digging it.



There were many random tourists on poorly fitted bicycles. Some looking as if this may be their once-a-year ride. There were a couple of girls on those pseudo-cross-country-ski things with the poles and everything. There were a half dozen runners and joggers.



Buddy and I parked at Thompson's conservation land on Rte. 39 in Harwich. This is a great little park to take your dog to. On any given day there will be 10-20 dogs being walked (off leash). It is a regular love boat for dogs.



Today we parked there because it has access to the rail trail spur. The Mid-Cape Rail Trail goes all the way from Dennis up to Providence Town - over 60 miles. The surface is of the parking-lot-asphalt variety. Not too hard. There is usually a strip of unpaved grass to one side for the dog to trot in.



The Trail itself skirts beaches, ponds, highways, state forests, state parks and cranberry bogs as it makes its way Up-Cape. The section I run from Harwich up to Brewster and Orleans is quite heavily traveled. Lots of families on bike outings. It crosses Rte 6 for the only major elevation gain. It also passes through the large fresh water ponds in Harwich.



Buddy had to stay on leash today because of the traffic. He doesn't like it. If I give him too much leash he'll inevitably make his way to the center of the path and end up running directly into oncoming traffic. I think it's because his breed originated in Scotland - where they run on the wrong side of the trail.



We do just fine on the rail trail. Most of the bikers are faster than us and we are faster than most of the runners. We don't get caught in traffic. We mind our own business.



Today we passed two women on the way out. Buddy doesn't like following. If we are close enough to another runner - Buddy will insist we throw in a fartlek to take them. One of the women was evidently a sophomore like my daughter. She had a shirt that said "Class of 2010" on the back. I thought "Huh - Class of ‘80" when I passed her.



It got warm enough that I ended up shucking my shirt and running in my "racing sweater". I'm old enough now to not care if I scare the locals with my Elephant Man good looking naked torso.



There are at least 5 porta-potties in the 5 or so miles I went out. That's outstanding port-potty density. There is also an ice cream stand and a general store.



On the way back I let Fur-Boy go for a swim in one of the ponds. It reenergized him. He came out of the water wanting to run some tempo. The dog has no pacing skills. We got tangled up racing a family of four on bicycles. I think Dad could have taken us and Mom would have been a tester, but we had the two little kids hands down and lost them on the up-hill over the highway with a little burst.



And so it goes. Another place, another run. Back to the burgers and chips. Tomorrow morning we'll see if we can get up early enough to sneak Buddy onto the real beach.



See you out there...






Chris Russell lives and trains in suburban Massachusetts with his family and Border collie Buddy. Chris is the author of , short stories on running, racing, and the human comedy of the mid-pack. Chris writes the Runnerati Blog at Chris' Podcast, RunRunLive is available on iTunes and at Chris also writes for ( and is a member of the Squannacook River Runners.









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