There are a lot of unpaved roads where I live. They snake their way up and down hills, pass by orchards and tree farms, over streams and small rivers traversed by overflow bridges. I run these unpaved roads from time to time when I feel like doing something different from my usual 6k-10k paved road routine. I call this my back roads run.
These roads all link to each other and run through several villages. Depending on the particular route I map out, a run could go from 45 minutes to 2 hours on a single loop. I did a 45-minuter this weekend, my first back roads run since October last year.
It didn't feel anything like I haven't run this route for the past 5 months. Perhaps it was the familiarity with the terrain. It starts with a 3km uphill effort on paved road before turning right to a dirt road lined on both sides by fruit trees. You then cruise through rolling terrain for about 2 kilometers and do a fast downhill over another 2 kilometers.
It was already half past six in the morning, but it's only when I hit the pavement again after that last 2k stretch that I feel the warm sun on my skin. All the while, the trees in the orchards and rubber farms that line the dirt road keep me sheltered in their shadows.
I guess that's one of the few things that make my back roads run always a refreshing experience- the opportunity to run amidst a cool early morning countryside scene.