Saturday, July 6, 2013

Stillwell Woods running, made in the shade

Out of the woods and into the sun
Today's run (Stillwell Woods): 3.4 miles

With temperatures reaching the 90's by midday today, I decided that a sheltered run at Stillwell Woods would be a good bet. Even with heavy tree cover, I knew it would be hot at 8:30 AM, so I did what I could to stay comfortable. I wore my white, terrycloth Jackrabbit running hat, a white technical jersey and a cooling bandanna that I'd prepared by soaking in water and placing in the refrigerator. Due to the high tick population this season, I traded coolness (both in look and comfort) for safety, with a pair of mid-calf wool trail socks.

The beginning of my run was great. I had none of yesterday's fatigue and, this being a trail run, I moderated my pace and prevented any anaerobically-induced coughing. The shaded woods kept conditions bearable and the short segments of unprotected sky reinforced my decision not to do a street run today. It wasn't very crowded and I only saw a few mountain bikers on the paths. At one point, I was overtaken by three high school-aged girls who were running along the trail. They seemed to have little trouble speeding along in the hot and humid weather.

About halfway through my run, I began to think about the Dirty Sock 10K in August, when conditions will likely be similar. On that day, I'll need to cover almost double the distance I was running today. I have some hot weather training to do. I think the bandanna helped at first, but after a while the heat rendered it ineffective. By the time I reached the trail head, I was soaked with sweat and ready to stop.

In the end, I felt great. A change of scenery was needed, and I enjoyed the experience far more than my recent runs on local roads. Stillwell is only 5 minutes from my house, so it's an easy choice to make whenever I'm feeling bored of my running routine. A harder choice will be taking on some of Stillwell's tougher trails that I've come to avoid, in favor of more familiar (and easier) routes. I'm going to take on that challenge, but not with 90° temps and 90% humidity.

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