Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Return to Cathance River

What? I ran by a quarry today. Quarries are rocky. See, it's related.

The day sort of got away from me today, so I didn't get out for my run until late. I was pushing it in terms of daylight, but it worked out just fine. With the continued rapid snow disappearance, I figured it was a good opportunity to check out the trails of the Cathance River Nature Preserve for the first time this spring. Leaving from home it takes a little bit to get there and with only 5 miles planned, I knew that I wouldn't get to see much of the trails, but it would give me a taste. I took a reasonably short route through the Mt. Ararat trails, crossed through Highland Green and ran past the quarry to the Heath Trail. I'd forgotten how much fun the singletrack trails were in the Preserve. Good times. I wove my way to the Barnes Leap Trail which leads down to the Cathance River. The trail conditions to this point has been mostly snow free, but very muddy, fairly soft and quite wet. It's April, and I was on a riverbank, so things got wetter. On three separate occasions, the river was so high that the trail was completely under water. I managed to bushwhack around the first flooded section. The second, which looked to be almost waist deep, I was able to (gingerly) cross on a fallen tree. The third involved a leap from one side to the other...I didn't quite make it. I had flashbacks to the Hell Run, but I stayed upright and mostly dry. Shortly after my moderately successful leap, I heard a loud slap in the river. I'd startled a beaver.

I watched him dive and slap the water a couples times, then swim away. The rest of the run was pretty uneventful, just muddy and sloppy. I could have stayed on the singletrack a little longer, but I opted to make my way home via the dirt roads. Once I get a better feel for these trails, I'll come up with more solid loop ideas. I see this becoming one of my favorite running locations.

As far as how I felt on the run, I'd classify it as great. More zip than I expected. I'm glad I've decided not to race this weekend, but I almost feel like letting one rip. I definitely had to ease myself back a bit today. The loop ended up being 5.71, and I averaged 9:09 per mile (Yes, I wore the Garmin). So not exactly smoking, but pretty solid over that terrain. Nevertheless, I'm going to stick with the plan, and ease through the rest of the week with a long run planned for Saturday. Then next week, I think I'll add in some type of speed work...hopefully on a muddy trail.

Here's the profile, which is groovy, but just can't capture all the nooks and crannies of the singletrack.

Oh, I also feel compelled to mention that I wore the La Sportivas again today. The more I wear them, the more I like them. And, yes, I'll probably have a new epiphany about these shoes every day.

1 comment:

middle.professor said...

Definitely carve out a nice loop. I think I can speak for most of the TMs that those trails were nice!