The joy of jogging

Oct. 7, 2010, 2:00 a.m.

If you’re running out of places to run, hit up one of these outdoor trails

The joy of jogging
Try out the 3.5-mile-long asphalt trail circling the Dish for a refreshing yet challenging run. (MICHAEL LIU/The Stanford Daily)

Tired of going to the gym? Looking for a way to rub a little dirt on those spanking white sneaks? The next time you’re hoping to sweat off last night’s impressive helping of Death by Chocolate, take the monotony out of your usual routine and try out one of Stanford students’ favorite off- and on-campus running spots.

Although Lake Lagunita isn’t actually a lake, that doesn’t mean it lacks the beauty of one. Encompassed by Roble Hall, Governor’s Corner and Campus Drive, Lake Lagunita is an easy place to test your chops in outdoor running. The circular trail measures just under a mile, so it’s doable even for those amateur runners not yet in spandex-wearing shape. Or, if you’re feeling ambitious, run around it three, five or even 10 times; you may or may not get too many strange looks. The dirt and rock combo means less stress on the knees, and overhanging trees provide sufficient shade at any time of the day–but, as Edward Zhu ’13 points out, don’t forget to “look out for low branches.”

Circumscribing the core of campus, the Campus Drive loop is probably the most frequented running route at Stanford. In the words of Anna Grummon ’11, it’s “standard fare.” Depending on whether you choose the inner or outer route, the path is about four miles long, so it lacks the merry-go-round sensation of repeatedly circling Lake Lag. The Campus Drive loop is also a fun way to explore campus–hence the name–as it passes by Palm Drive, the Medical Center, Row Houses and more. But for those with feeble knees, be forewarned: a good percentage of Campus Drive has concrete pavement.

The Dish has its ups and downs (pun intended). On the one hand, its infamous hills have landed the Dish with a reputation of “what beastly runners do,” according to Rachel Rosenberg ’13. On the other hand, the incline undoubtedly has its advantages over the monotony of other prairie-like trails. Hills aside, the Dish rewards hikers and runners alike with a stunning panoramic view of the surrounding area. Says Rosenberg, “It gives you a feeling of where you are in the world instead of just Stanford.” Other worthwhile components of a run around the Dish: three and a half miles of asphalt, wildlife (watch out for scorpions!) and the opportunity to catch up on the latest Palo Alto middle school gossip, straight from the power-walking soccer moms.

If the Dish doesn’t satisfy your craving for a challenge, check out the Arastradero Preserve. It’s more than four miles from the center of campus, though technically still on Stanford property. The nature preserve makes up for the long trek with its 10 miles of unpaved trails, a number of small lakes and even the occasional deer or coyote sighting. Arastradero is no doubt a captivating exploration for the curious. As Zhu describes, it has “endless hills, dirt roads, [and] it’s really easy but fun to get lost.”

Sure, a little fresh air would do us all good, but don’t forget about the gym quite yet. Sometimes, it’s just that much more convenient. Cheryl Miyake ’13, for instance, rarely runs outdoors. “It gets hot and the gym is air conditioned. I like to drink water when I run, and I don’t like holding anything in my hand,” she said. If, however, you’re getting bored of the usual deal of swiping your ID card at the front desk, walking down the stairs into the gloomy basement and hopping on the treadmill, next time spice things up by playing a fun side game with your friends–like tallying the number of guys wearing cut-off shirts.

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