Thursday, April 5, 2012

It's spring, time for trail running

The last two weekends Monica and I have headed out to Great Brook Farm State Park in Carlisle.  She brings her spiffy new mountain bike, and I bring some trail running shoes.  I'll be getting a mountain bike soon so I can join her on rides, but for now I'm content to run some of the great double and single track available in GBF.  I haven't done too much trail running, but I'm enjoying it a lot these days.  The pace is generally slower, the ground is much more forgiving on my legs, and I don't have to deal with traffic lights.

I've been using my new small hydration pack, giving me some easily accessible water, a few Gu's, and a place to hold my wallet and phone. I've used a Nathan hip belt but with the twisty trails the backpack feels like it carries more smoothly and allows me to twist and turn more comfortably. It also looks cool.  For shoes I have two pair; Innov-8 and Asolo.  The Asolos are new and this past weekend was their first day out.  I bought the Innov-8s last year and they have been on a few long hikes and run in the Whites.  The only other trail running gear I use are my Dirty Girl Gaiters, in Lime Gatorade Hurl.  They also look cool.

The trails at Great Brook are a mix of farm roads, paths in fields, and single track.  I don't know the trails in detail but it's not very big and bordered by a few main roads so you can't get too far off.  The first time I ran there I just stayed on the wide paths and strung together a 4 mile loop without crossing my tracks.  The second time I tried more of the single track, such as Indian Hill (Tip: avoid trails with the word "Hill" in the name) and the Woodchuck Loop, then followed a trail I had never seen before which took me out to some town land called Thanksgiving Ground Forest.  It was just an out and back before hitting some more double track, crossing the road and taking the Tophet Loop, which is my favorite mountain bike single track, and working my way back to the car.  It rained for the second half of the loop but never too hard so it just made running in the woods more interesting.  People hurrying back to their cars under umbrellas gave me some odd looks.

The plan is to add at least one day of trail running a week, after work on my way home.  I can run a 7 mile loop in the Fells that offers some nice variety of single and double track, plus the occasional view of Boston from a tower.  That should add some variety to the week and make the longer runs easier on my knees.

Besides, anything that lets me wear the Dirty Girls is a good thing.

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