I exercised at Mt. Trashmore for the 1st time since the pandemic, and this is what happened.

Every day I’m scheduled to run, I try to find motivation that pushes me through it. I haven’t been a runner for very long, but I find running a great way to kick start my fitness quest, since it requires no equipment to run outdoors, and I can do it just about any where, weather permitting. Last Monday’s motivation was for Running into Fall Virtual 5K, sponsored by the Navy. I thought it a great way to welcome my 5th week of run training. Itching for a different scenic view, I decided to run the 5K event at Mount Trashmore, my first time back at the park since the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of three stair steps in Mt. Trashmore Park.

5 weeks in…Time really does fly by. I got to say, it was not easy trying to get myself to run again after months of sedentary living; but, finding motivation and focusing on it really helped me. If looking for an app to help kickstart your run training too, I have tried 2 free apps so far, which I posted on the blog: C25K and NCR.

Prior to this 2020 pandemic, I was 6 miles in my run training. I used C25K to kick start this run training, with the intention to participate in the half-marathon, which was to take place this month. The marathon event was cancelled due to the pandemic, and combined with the “self-quarantine”, and no marathon goal, I got lazy.

This time around, I started using NCR halfway in, and currently at 4+ miles. Lungs are adjusting well, and I’m progressing along. My advice is to focus on building your lungs first before working on speed. You shouldn’t have to dread going into a workout. If running’s not your thing, there are other forms of exercises out there.

Running at Mount Trashmore Park

Armed with a face mask, I braved the outdoors in a more public setting than I’m used to. Prior to this change of scenery, I have been running in my neighborhood solely. The weather was cold last Monday, and it felt like rain will come in a minute; but, maybe because of this, the area was not as populated as I expected it to be.

The sky at the start of my run.

Mount Trashmore had some upgrades since I’ve been there last. For one, the steps closes to the new restroom building is now wider. It is by far the most used of the 3 stairs in the park.

The Kid’s Cove is also currently getting a face lift, and is closed for a few weeks.

I do love that the previous office was remodeled to a restroom area. Now there are 3 restroom buildings in the park.

I typically run without a mask in our neighborhood. Dodging people to maintain social distancing was pretty easy. I just run across the other side of the street. So, running with a mask for the first time got a little constricting for me.

The areas that were most populated at Mount Trashmore was the path around the man-made lake. At the time, the hills were pretty bare. A few people were utilizing the 3 stair steps up and down, but in terms of people walking the hill, very minimal.

The crowds at the park go in spurts. Sometimes there are a lot, sometimes there are none. Walking would be easy with a mask; but, running with a mask for 3 miles got hard for me, because I’m not used to it. So every chance I got, I removed it.

While no one is around, I took the mask off, and when people are nearby, I put it back on. It was actually putting me off my headspace, so I decided to run the outskirt of the park instead. I run the path of Edwin Drive to South Blvd. – same path to go to the Kids’ Cove parking lot. I stopped at Silina Drive in the nearby neighborhood, and then back tracked the path to finish the 5K. Passed by a couple of people but that was it.

The view from the bike route.

I counted about 4 people at Mount Trashmore with a mask on. I get it, it’s hard to keep the mask on when exercising. I took mine off and on too when no one was around to breath easier during my run.

Some where not mindful of social distancing. I prefer to run on the paved path, because it’s just smoother than running on uneven grass. However, some fill up the whole path to conversate while walking, and then, not moving aside for in coming traffic. Some, stand across each other from each side of the path to chat before saying their goodbyes.

Despite shortcomings, the park is a beautiful place to exercise. By the time I left Mount Trashmore, combining my warm-up/cool-down walk and 2 run sessions, I have completed 18+K steps (8.8 miles) by 11:11 am, according to my Health app! It really is beautiful there. On a different scenario, I once upon a time was a regular at this park.

Why I’m a proponent of wearing a mask and social distancing?

This COVID-19 virus is still new, and according to recent news, it may quite possible be airborne. Who knows which is true, as there are conflicting news posted. I don’t know which to believe; however, why take a chance when it’s so easy to just wear a mask. I support being outdoors and get my fill of sun, fresh air, and exercise – the combination of has definitely helped me get out of my rut. Data about COVID-19 changes so often because it’s so new, why not protect yourself if you can?

Final Words

Over all, my 1st time experience back in a more public fitness area was good. I’m not too sure if I’d make Mt. Trashmore my go-to run venue since I have to wear a mask, or dodge too many people. I can certainly learn to get used to wearing a mask while I run, if I need to. With so many other places to get my exercise, I don’t need to stress too much. Some times a place works, sometimes it doesn’t.

Yesterday, I run at Dam Neck Beach. Very minimal people there, and if I chance upon someone else, I just distance myself. The beach life is for me! Amazing weather yesterday too; but, it is harder to run on sand. I run slower but the view is fantastic, very peaceful. I’d definitely run there again.

I hope you are progressing along with your fitness quest and that I am motivating you, even a little, to kickstart your fitness goals. Exercise doesn’t have to be done at a gym, nor does it have to cost anything. Find your motivation and let’s move.

Until next time.


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