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  1. Pineland For Beginners

    Nov 11, 2008

    I needed a trail run. But where to go? Looked on Map My Run and couldn't find anything I was into. I thought back a few months to a race that Eric pitched to me @ a massive recreational facility in New Gloucester. Didn't end up running the race since it was raining like hell that day and didn't want to go mud sliding, but I kept the location in the back of my mind. Having lived in Gray, the next town over, I was surprised that I had never stopped in. Then again I wasn't particularly active then, so maybe not such a shocker after all. I did a little research and found the more than adequate trails might be just what I needed today. So I decided to head to Pineland Farms.
    I felt completely lost and unprepared when I arrived on campus. This place is a huge center of education and recreation. I missed the welcome office somehow so I stopped at a YMCA also on campus to ask about the trails. I didn't catch the guy's name but he was greatly helpful. He steered me over to the trails across the road from the main campus. He warned that the others are a bit of a spider's web and it's easy to get turned around and criss-crossed out there so I decided to stick to the simpler route. Kind of a beginners guide to the trails at Pineland.

    These trails are utilized by runners, hikers, and most frequently in the wintertime by skiers. They are well groomed and highly maintained. I was a little worried with the amount of rain we've been having lately that there would be standing water and slippery muck throughout but the trail system proved to be clean and not lacking in drainage. I've seen some pretty slimy trails recently around here. This one was most definitely not.

    The trail I took consisted of three trails that branch apart and loop back together on the main loop, that main trail being Oak Hill. The two others that link with it are Gloucester Hill and Pownal Trail. I was told that Oak Hill was a fairly easy, rolling trail good for a beginner and that if I was in the mood for some hills than I could also try Gloucester Hill Trail. I wasn't prepared for Gloucester Hill. Having trained on the flat pavement of OOB, I haven't yet conditioned myself to hills especially well. This one brutalized me. I was keeping pretty strong w/ about an 11 minute/mile pace when I ran smack into the wall. I wasn't anticipating taking walk breaks but had to on this section of the trail. Just after however a walk break however I got this sudden rush of energy and started to bang out what I'm guessing was about a 9:30 minute/mile. I've experienced my first brush with the runner's high. I was elated. It kept me going for the almost 4.5 mile run.

    This place was fantastic. I intend to learn more about the Pineland Farms' community programs and spread the word where I can. I strongly urge you to go over to their site or if you're in the area check out the campus firsthand. It's just the type of grassroots style organization that contributes to Maine's backbone, making Maine a place I love to live and run in.

    I have also added today's run as a Map My Run route. View it here.

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