Saturday, February 20, 2010

Hitting the Trails

I've known for some time now that I live only a couple miles from a number of dirt trails that loop around all the hills here. It's taken an injured knee though to get myself to stray from my routine of hitting up the paved trails that are accessible from just behind my apartment.

I looked at Google maps to understand all my options for accessing the dirt trails, and finally settled on a route 2.7 miles from my apartment. I hopped on my bike, put on my Five Fingered Toes, and took off for the trail head. When I arrived I couldn't believe my eyes. Wide dirt trails, tall green grass, and hills as far as the eye could see. And practically right in my back yard! I parked my bike against a cattle fence and started running.

At the first fork in the trail I turned right, which quickly narrowed into what was merely an indention in the grass. And the grass was two feet tall and soaking wet. After continuing for a quarter mile and seeing the trail slowly disappear from under me, I decided to cut my losses and head back to the fork. So I turned around and chose the other path. Here is what the grass-indented trail looked like where I turned around. Can you see the trail?

Another fork had me choose between two trails, and I soon found myself running through what I'll call "Ankle Twist Alley." The trail was covered with deep rivets everywhere caused by horse hooves. And it ain't easy running through hardened horse hoof indentions. There was really no way around it. And while it didn't feel too good in my shoes that simulate barefoot running, the view was phenomenal (see below).

In all, I ran six miles through the trails before I got back on my bike and headed home. And guess what? My knees didn't hurt a bit. I'm looking forward to getting back out there and becoming one of those weird trail runner dudes.

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