Showing posts with label bugs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bugs. Show all posts

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Soggy and buggy on the Stillwell trails

Just me and the mountain bikers today
Today's run (Stillwell Woods): 3.75 miles

The summer sun, heat and humidity can really wear out a runner. Friday afternoon I ran in extremely hot weather and dragged my way through four tough miles. Yesterday was a little better, because I ran in the morning and the temperature was still moderate. Besides my lethargy that was probably caused by caffeine deprivation, I also had a sinus headache. I'm sure that was related to Saturday's high pollen count.

I had a tough night's sleep last night and at 2:00 AM I was wide awake with a pounding headache. I took two Excedrin, the only analgesic that helps with these sinus-related migraines. The Excedrin did the trick and I slept until 6:15. I was hoping I'd feel refreshed and invigorated, but I had to settle for being headache-free.

I couldn't deal with any more sun and heat this morning, so I headed over to Stillwell Woods for my run. It was a cloudy day, 75° and already humid. I counted on Stillwell's tree cover to block the sun, were it to make its way past the low cloud cover. I arrived at 8:00 AM and was concerned that the parking lot would be packed due to soccer or Little League games. Happily, I only saw a handful of SUVs, most with bike carriers on the back.

I followed my usual route and cut into the woods after a minute on the main trail. I listened for bikers who commonly use the same entry point. Despite the SUVs in the lot, the trails were empty, save for a black snake that slithered across the path as I made my way east. My Cascadias did a great job of handling the terrain, especially in areas with loose gravel or rutted and root-covered paths.

I did encounter bikers a couple of times. They gave fair warning when approaching from behind and I moved over accordingly. The tree canopy gave good shade, but the humidity made it extremely uncomfortable. In addition, gnats buzzed constantly around my face, causing me to swat as I ran. That's the downside of summer trail running.

Usual route with a modified loop
I departed from my standard loop and went south a bit, where the trails are rougher. Again the Cascadia's rock plates provided good protection as I made my way over grapefruit-sized stones and other trail hazards. I would have covered more distance had I stayed on my original path, but the shorter route required a lot more effort.

After I finished, I realized how humid it really was. Sweat was pouring off me as if I'd just been soaked with a hose. I didn't manage a 6+ mile run this week, which is a goal I have with my current, limited, workout schedule. Still, it was almost four miles in tough conditions over difficult terrain. I'll consider this a good running week.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Bugs, sun, hiking and running

Mislead by the map, much more to the east
Yesterday's activity (Stillwell Woods hike): 2.2 miles
Today's run (street): 4.4 miles

Surprise! It's hot in July
Despite the popular idiom, it really is the heat (but the humidity doesn't help). People talk about the heat like it's some sort of unusual phenomenon, but every July it's just like this. Today's temperature should get close to 100° F, so I got outside relatively early. Even at 7:50 AM, the thermometer was edging towards 80°.

Yesterday was equally hot, so after a morning of working from home, my son and I headed over to Stillwell Woods for a hike. A midday hike on a hot summer's day may sound like torture, but we knew that the tree canopy would keep the sun off our heads. For the most part, that was true, but we didn't count on the clouds of bugs that we encountered as we moved deeper into woods.

Despite the heat, gnats and occasional hard climbs, we had a great time looking for the elusive Ewok Forest section on Stillwell. I used Endomondo to record our hike and I referred to its real-time map a few times to help locate our position. The simple graphics on the map led me to believe that we were further east into the woods than we really were, so we never reached our intended destination.

My son did a great job tracking our direction and, when were ready to go, his compass skills led us straight back to our stating point. We headed home and cooled off in the pool with my wife and daughter. Our serenity was interrupted when a town worker in a lift truck surprised us by swinging over the tree line to trim around some adjacent telephone lines. Surprise!

I took it very easy on this morning's run. I briefly considered turning off the GPS so that I wouldn't track my pace. I tend to be self-competitive when I know I'm being recorded and I didn't want to move too fast in increasingly warm conditions. I ended up recording it, but I didn't look at my time until the end.

I needed to keep reminding myself that pace didn't matter, and that this workout was just about maintenance miles on an extremely hot and humid morning. The run never felt hard but I was glad to end it. I'm pleased that I put in a few miles today and I'll look forward to some easier activities in the pool this afternoon. Before too long, the T-storms will be here to finally cool things off.

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