Saturday, October 2, 2010

Cool running at Stillwell Woods

Today's run (Stillwell Woods): 1 hour (approx. 6.2 miles)

After all the rain and humidity that we experienced last week, this morning's temperatures had finally dropped into the low 60's. I headed out to Stillwell Woods for the first time in almost a month with a plan to run for an hour. An article in the current issue of Runner's World made the point that trail running is more about the time you run than your actual distance and pace. With all the different conditions that a runner can encounter over a period of an hour -- like stepping around or over obstructions or getting up a steep rise covered with scree or sand -- the range of speed can be broad. I just wanted to run in the woods and enjoy the cool air while getting some distance in.

There were many mountain bikers getting ready to head to the trails as I started out and not long after I made my way to the primary trail I was overtaken by two bikers who came up fast. At least they had the courtesy of warning me that they were approaching. Most mountain bikers will do that. The ones that don't seem to be the reckless type, making the it even more dangerous because you're not expecting them and they don't seem to anticipate anything that may be in their path. I encountered a few downed branches along my travels and ran into some prickly plants and hanging vines. You take the bad with the good, especially when it's all good.

I saw lots of animals, most notably a rabbit the size of raccoon that was planted in the middle of the trail. It hopped away heavily when I got close and I thought it was a sitting target for any predator that may lurk within the woods. I took a rarely used trail off my last loop and wondered where it would take me. It started as a fairly established single track but as I went on the dirt gave way to low grass and it became hard to distinguish between the trail and the woods. This trail terminated at a fence so I quickly turned and headed back to the trail that fed it. I covered about 6 miles according to the Garmin. I'm not sure  of the distance because I had my HH Trail Lizards that are not currently matched with the Garmin foot pod. It could have totaled 6.3 miles or even 5.9. I don't really care either way, today was about the experience, and not the metrics, of the run.

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