After checking the trail map, I chose to head toward Cheboygan, a convenient 8 miles away, the perfect distance for my Woodstock 50K training plan, which is also getting me ready to run the Detroit Free Press Marathon in October.
I haven’t been wearing my hydration vest because it bothers my shoulder, so I filled up the small water bottles on my luggage, I mean, hydration belt. I had my Bib Rave visor, plenty of fuel and temperatures in the low 70s.
The trail itself is crushed, packed limestone, which tried to get into my running shoes a few times. It was a good reminder to follow my friend Brandess’ advice and finally get gaiters.
Having run 26.2 miles last weekend, 16 sounded just perfect, so I headed out with a spring in my step, steady 2:1 run/walk intervals and a back-up battery in case I needed to listen to music or a book on Audible.
Everything went great. I saw deer. I drank my Gatorade and fueled every four miles. And I took lots of pictures. I should note that there is basically nothing between Aloha State Park and Cheboygan other than some fields, farm houses, an RV park and a few homes. There is nowhere to stop, get water or pee (unless you’re a dude and then the world is your toilet).
Eventually, I got close to Cheboygan and its awesome trailhead, which features a covered pavilion, bathrooms, air pump and bike tools, and a water fountain.
I took advantage of the facilities and filled up my now-empty water bottles with water before turning around and heading back.
By now, I’m two hours into my run but still feeling good.
Until I didn’t. I resorted to listening to a book on Audible. No big deal.
I took an extra packet of fuel. Still fine.
Then. I. Slowed. Down. Even. More.
Did I mention that there’s also no shade on the North Eastern State Trail?
I ran out of water at about mile 14. And out of juice at about mile 15, so I walked the last mile right up to the small store by the campground where I bought a regular Pepsi and it was the most delicious thing I have ever tasted. (Good thing I had stocked my luggage so I had cash!)
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my run on the NEST. It’s well-maintained and incredibly convenient.
I even ran on it again this morning and plan a few more runs yet this week. Which again validated my always well-stocked luggage (seeing a theme here?) when I had to pull out bug repellent wipes and then Wet Ones to clean my hands afterward. Them skeeters were trying to eat me!
Have you ever run on the North Eastern State Trail? Would you recommend it? Any tips to share? (You may have to click on “Continue Reading” to leave a comment.)