Monday, May 6, 2013

Virtual Running Date No. 8: Over the hills and through the woods

Good morning crushers!

Welcome to our 8th virtual running date! I don't know about your neck of the woods, but we had wonderful running weather this past weekend. On Saturday, Steve and I went for an early morning run to tackle 10 miles of the Ice Age Trail. We combined the Pike Lake segment and the Holy Hill segment. Basically, we ran (and sometimes walked) from the Powder Hill parking lot at Pike Lake to Holy Hill (and then we climbed the tower). If you had been running with us, you would have encountered the following:

  • Gorgeous weather! It was about 55-60 degrees, overcast with a light breeze and most of the dew had already evaporated.
  • Wildlife! We were too loud to see any deer, but we saw and heard lots of birds and people with their dogs. We did see a lot of "evidence" of where animals (deer) had been, so you had to watch your step if you know what I mean...
  • Empty country roads during the road connects, and when we had to go around the woods because the Waterford Road bridge was completely underwater and I refused to slog up to my knees in water/muck to get to the other side. (scroll all the way to the bottom on the link to see the bridge)
  • Fields of crops just starting to green and grow.
  • The best view from the highest point in Washington County.
  • One of your friends willing to pick you up at the end of the 10 miles and drive you back to your car so that you didn't have to walk all the way back making it a 20 mile trek.
I love hiking the Ice Age trail. That's where Steve and I go geocaching and where we even got engaged! It was totally different running it than hiking. If we were on a virtual running date and had been together, you would have had to dodge rocks, roots and other debris in the trail. On some parts, we would have had to run single file because of the narrow path, but some parts were wide enough for a whole group of people!

Another nice feature about the trail is that there are markers along the trail telling you about interesting features of the land. If we were on a virtual running date, I would have told you about my nerdy science days back in high school where I learned how to determine soil pH and spot a drumlin or kame. Oh earth science classes...

If we were on a virtual running date, I would also tell you about how to dry your shoes after having to run through a field that was flooded up to your ankles. Yeah, here we run thinking that all the long grasses are just laying down due to winds, but really they are in standing water. At the base of a hill? Whoops. Fortunately, we came to this chilly, clear water around mile 8 of our run, so it cooled off our feet. It was surprisingly nice. And squishy.

Anyway, when we got home we took our shoes and set them outside in the sun to dry. When you're drying the shoes, it's important to take the insoles out so that there isn't any water trapped in the bottom of the shoe. Running shoes tend to get stinky regardless of the terrain, but you don't want them to get any more gross than they have to. One thing that I should have done, but forgot to do is untie my shoe laces while they were wet. I'm pretty sure they're cemented into place now. Oh well!

What tips would you have for running on trails? Have you been on any great trails? Are you a fan of the Ice Age Trail? Let me know in the comments!