A nice long run through Berlin and its parks

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Here’s a view from Berlin Falls Park that I turned around to take a photo of while on my second of three loops of this trail on Saturday. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

When Kristen posted in the Delmarva Moms Run This Town Facebook group asking who would want to join her on a run at Berlin Falls Park, I was certainly interested.

A park with a trail I hadn’t yet heard of that was also less than 30 minutes from my house? Count me in.

The Delmarva Moms Run This Town group poses outside of Burley Oak near the end of the run.

I joined Kristen (of Jonesin’ for a Run; check out her post on this park here), Amy, Kim and Laura for a five-miler that included a loop on the trail at Berlin Falls Park and roads around town in Berlin, Maryland, on Saturday, Nov. 26.

It’s easy to drive past the turn for the park: I did! Berlin Falls Park is located at 10009 Old Ocean City Boulevard, across from Burley Oak Brewing Company and The Dispatch and on the same side of the road as Urban Nectar. It’s kind of an industrial area, and I couldn’t see the park from the road. I had my GPS on and realized I’d missed the turn, and once I turned around, I was able to see a sign for park rules.

The loop around a body of water seemed to go by quickly, and I actually ended up running this loop three times throughout my 16-mile run, one being to end my run. Having already cut a few runs short for marathon training and knowing I’m going to be running the Rehoboth Beach Seashore Half Marathon on Saturday instead of the 18-miler that’s on the schedule, I knew I should get in the full 16 miles.

Here’s a post-group run selfie from Saturday!

Running five with the group definitely helped break up the distance, and that part of the run seemed to go by the fastest. After we finished that five miles, I did another loop at Berlin Falls Park before making my way toward the downtown area.

I had been to Stephen Decatur Park before, but it was a long time ago, I believe before I started this blog. I did take a wrong turn getting there as I ran, but using the map on my phone, I was able to get to that park off Tripoli Street. On one side of the road is a nature trail — I ran that, and it’s about a quarter mile — and on the other side is a rubberized walking path near play structures for kids and tennis courts. I did a couple loops on the rubberized path, which felt like it was giving my run some needed bounce. It’s a short trail, but it was nice to switch things up.

Here’s the one photo I got of Berlin’s downtown Christmas decorations. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

I listened to music from my phone for a decent amount of the run after the group portion, but my phone died somewhere around Mile 11 or so. That also meant I couldn’t get any more pictures of Berlin’s downtown, decorated for Christmas, but I did get one of a wreath earlier on in my run. In case you aren’t from around here (because I think pretty much everyone on the Shore has probably heard this), Berlin received the honor of being named Budget Travel’s America’s Coolest Small Town in 2014. It does have a cute downtown and toward the end of my run, people were out for Small Business Saturday shopping.

During the group part of the run, Kristen found some change, and when I was on my own, I did find a penny downtown, which is always nice. I’m not as good at spotting it as she is, but I’ve found a few cents this year (I think only four cents on runs).

Here’s a view of the rubberized walking path at Stephen Decatur Park in Berlin. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

It did get tough, and I walked a decent amount. Not caring too much about my pace, I ended up with an average 12:14 mile, and it took more than three hours to complete. I had also stopped my watch at least twice. I did have a dog run toward me at one point while in a residential area, but I just kept walking and thankfully nothing bad happened. There had also been dogs loose on my run at the NCR Trail, but thankfully I didn’t have misfortune there either, and I’m hoping these were anomalies.

Despite running a slower pace than I probably should have, I finished, and after the run, I was able to get the drink I’d looked forward to trying: The peppermint bark mocha from On What Grounds?, a coffee shop in downtown Berlin. I had seen a social media post about this and had to try it. It was a nice holiday-time post-run drink.

I also ended up buying two bottles of water on the run, one from Cheers! and one from a vending machine. It seemed pretty warm for the end of November. I was wearing a long-sleeved shirt and shorts, but I probably would have been OK in a short-sleeved shirt and shorts.

I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do at the Rehoboth Seashore Half Marathon on Saturday. I’ve decided to make my goal to run the race at the pace I want to run my marathon or faster, which would put me at about a 2:08 half marathon. I’m not sure if I can do it based on my most recent half marathon time of 2:19, but I’m putting the goal out there now online, so maybe that will help me.

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