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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Running Trails in Poland

How many miles a week do you need to run not to gain weight in Poland? A trip by train to Berlin gave me plenty of time to think about it. After hopping from city to city in the last two weeks, Robert and I spent as much time as possible with our family last week. My Mom and sister live in small towns surrounded by vast areas of forest in the south-west part of Poland about 25 miles from a city of Opole. As a teenager I used to run trails in this forest to get ready for a team handball season, but my 3-mile 'long' run somehow limited what I could discover back then. Over the last three decades, local Rangers have clear cut several paths dividing this forest into more manageable sectors as part of fire prevention and response strategy.

You can imagine my delight when I discovered a map showing tens of miles of soft forest roads connecting nearby towns and villages. Every morning I would run for hours through this beautiful forest far from the intercity traffic knowing that to keep my weight down I needed to burn a lot of calories to fully enjoy my Mom's delicious breakfast waiting for me after my run. It must have been a strong motivation as my mileage last week reached 90 miles with no apparent damage to my overused IT Band probably due to soft surface of the trails. However, some things never seem to change in Poland. As a teenager, I was always a little bit concerned about an encounter with a wild boar ruling the forest in this part of Europe. Running the trails last week I was trying, like in the old days, to always stay alert; however, I could not remember what my brother-in-law told me to do in case of such encounter: run, fight, or play dead? Fortunately, I did not have a chance to find it out and could enjoy my Mom's breakfast instead of becoming one.

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