Great weather = great running

The last few days we had a bit of a spring-teaser and I was able to go out and run on some new and interesting ground. Friday (50F/10C sunny, dry) I did another lunch run in town, from my office to my favorite bar. And today (65F/18C sunny, dry) I did my first real trail run on the 3-mile Ridge Trail at Little River Park. Some of the sidewalks in the old neighborhoods in Durham are just as challenging to run on as the trails in the woods – old tree roots have pushed up the asphalt or concrete and some sidewalks are cleaner than others. Whether you run in the woods or on the city, you really have to be alert and pay attention to where you put your feet and how you put them there. And that’s part of the fun.

The Ridge Trail at Little River is not terribly technical overall – a nice, single-track wooded hiking trail that varies between gravel, leaf-litter, pine needles, some muddy patches and some rocky areas. It’s mostly rolling hills with a couple of steeper descents and climbs. Along the river, the trail is sandy and soft, which feels really nice. The biggest hazards I found are pointy rocks hidden in the leaf litter and pine cones. I learned quickly to tread lightly on the leaf litter, because you often just don’t know what’s hiding underneath. And those damn pine cones! Pointy, sneaky booby traps! I think I have one of those spikes stuck in my foot right now. Still, running barefoot in the woods is fun. The rocks and roots teach you to lift your feet. The pine cones teach you … to look out for pine cones. And if you tread lightly you glide quietly through the woods like a deer.

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