I have gotten tired of running on the local roads and needed an adventure of a sort.
At the same time, I know that I need be careful with the temps and footing. Running the local hiking trails, even with ice grippers, is not my thing. Too many things can go wrong on those skinny single-track trails that I love so much, and many of the other places are now open for cross-country skiing (Quarry Road or Bond Brook), so running on them is frowned upon.
That left me with the snowmobile trails.
In all honesty, while I ran on the one up back a few days ago, it was a tough slog, and I am not in good enough shape to do that trail regularly-yet. I had walked earlier with Bennie up back yesterday and this morning, so I had a pretty good idea of the trail conditions. The sleet and freezing rain we got the other day made the snowmobile trails just about perfect for walking and, yes, running.
So I decided to run the snowmobile trail down to Bartlett and see how I felt. Either ending with a 4.0 miler or if I felt great going all the way through to Tiffany, then coming back home by the road – a 7.0-miler.
I figured that the 361* Santiago’s would do just fine without the ice grippers. The extra weight outweighed the benefit of the extra grip.
While I was excited about the adventure, it had been a busy and somewhat frustrating morning, so I putzed around, delaying getting out longer than I should have. Eventually, I got my arse in gear, changed-up, and headed out.
As I have been doing most of my runs lately, I started pretty slow and let myself warm-up into the run. The temps were in the low 20*F, which is better than it has been, and the sun would peek through every so often—a nice crisp Winter day.
The snowmobile trail was about as good as it gets for running on, and I settled into a nice steady, but not too hard pace. Running on snowmobile trails is different than the roads, and I wanted to be sure that I did have something in the tank for whatever I decided to do when I got to Bartlett.
It was nice running down there again. I haven’t done the trail in 3-4 years. So the changes that have happened along it are pretty significant. It was clear-cut in several parts a few years ago, which changed the woods’ entire vibe. The woods don’t feel as welcoming, and the scenery along the trail has been diminished considerably, not a lot of older growth woods, but a lot of new growth. Kind of sad, it is part of the logging industry around us, but the forest is recovering faster than I expected. However, the feeling down there is not the same as it used to be.
The other part was I was more interested at times in taking photos than I was running. A good thing for the memories, but it made for a bit slower time on the run. At least it let the heart-rate calm down a little during the photo ops. Even though the trail was in great shape for running, it still was a tough run.
When I got to Bartlett, I wasn’t too impressed with the road and also knew that running the second half to Tiffany was not an option. I am not ready for that-too fat and out of shape. On my note, to TheWife I told her I was going to come back via the road. However, I thought the snowmobile trail was safer for running than what I saw on Bartlett. A lot of ice, frozen slush and more ice than tar in too many places.
So I stopped and thought for a moment, checked out how I was feeling, and decided to head back on the trail. It was the right choice. I came back without any issues…well, at least until I got to Tillson’s D&D Disc Golf course and the hill there.
Between the 3.5 miles I had run on the trail and the snow, the body and mind were not prepared to run up the hill. Yep, I walked up to the Cemetery, which seemed like an excellent place to start running again. Before anything got ideas of me joining them in at their permanent resting place. 😉
I even thought for a split second about going around the rest of the snowmobile trail to Philbrick. Then I came back to reality when I thought about the two hills and almost two more miles of tough running.
I knew the body would revolt, and tomorrow would not be a fun day if I kept running. I turned left and went home with a 4.0-mile snowmobile trail run in my pocket.
The 361* Santiago’s did everything that I wanted from them today, and my feet didn’t get cold or slip, slide around too much on the hard crust snow. I was impressed with how well they did.
Overall, a run that I did enjoy, even if it was a difficult one. It was a bit of an adventure, and I love getting out on the trails around here. Unfortunately, since many of the trails are more swamp than trail, the opportunities to run them have a narrow window of opportunity. Usually, late January, February, and early March are about the only times I can run them.