One of the benefits of living in Northern Virginia is the access to Washington & Old Dominion bike trail or more commonly known as the W&OD trail. This trail is nearly always the center spine of any training run that starts from home. My home is about one-half mile from mile marker 6.5 for a westerly jaunt and about a half mile from mile marker 6.0 for a trek in the direction of Washington D.C. and its many beautiful trails along the Potomac river.
In fact, my home town of Falls Church City opened the first section of the trail with a project in 1974. Over time, the popularity of Falls Church's foray into trail building on old rail lines caught the attention of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NVRPA). NVRPA took over the extensions of the trail and over time it has grown into the jewel that it is today. The National Recreation Trail travels along hill and dale from Shirlington in Arlington near the Pentagon out to the western suburbs of Leesburg, well west of the Nation's capital.
There is another aspect of the trail that interests me. The total length is 44.7 miles. This is very very close to the trek that I'll be taking in April. And while I don't intend running the full length as a trainer this winter, I will no doubt pound many sections of pavement along the old railroad right of way.
My penchant for variety means that I'm not much of an out and back runner, but with two directions of trail to choose and a variety of suburban side streets and other trails for return options, I'm rarely, if ever, feeling predictable when I set out for an early jaunt.
As we descend toward the roll back from daylight savings and on to the winter solstice, my early jaunts are more often than not traveled with a headlamp in full beam. These are the training days that will pay off in spring, so onward and onward we go.