Monday - South Kingstown, RI - 8.1 milesLast run of the year and the first real "winter" run with snow on the ground. When I told Amanda my intention of strapping on some Yaktrax and hitting the trails she looked at me like I was crazy and said, "you've never done this before, have you?" True enough but there's a first time for everything!
I parked on Post Rd and meant to run the DuVal trail up to Red House Rd and back. But I drove my wife's car and didn't realize that it could lock from the inside. As soon as I stepped out of it I realized I had taken my car key off the ring instead of hers. Locked out of my wife's car but at least I had all my running stuff on me.
So I started on the DuVal trail as planned. The Yaktrax combined with my Brooks Cascadias worked great. There were already several sets of foot/pawprints on the trail so it wasn't difficult running in the snow. It was actually a lot of fun! And the beautiful white environment was a joy to run in.
At the end of DuVal trail, I jumped on Sand Plain Trail (actually a wide dirt road) began the trek back to my house. The Yaktrax worked well on the plowed dirt road and worked fine on the paved roads as well (though I wonder if it's good to run on pavement with them.) I hit up the land trust property on Old Coach which actually offered the most tiring running conditions of the day. The snow was deep in places without a lot of previous traffic.
A great run to end the year - other than locking myself out of the car!
Tuesday - Burlingame - 9.1 milesI wanted to start off the New Year with another run in the snow. Burlingame seemed like a great choice. I wasn't able to start until about 3:30 PM so I brought my headlamp figuring that the darkness would at least make the run interesting. I started at the Watchaug Beach parking lot which was pretty iced over and ran the Vin Gormley in reverse. I carried my Yaktrax for the first mile and put 'em on once I reached the trail.
Lots of evidence of fellow outdoorsmen. I took Sammy C's trail and basically followed the route of two mountain bikers and their trusty canine. I was paying so much attention to my feet that I didn't see some of the low hanging branches. I got clotheslined by a brier branch and received a cut on my nose and a nasty scrape on my neck. Soon after I jumped on Schoolhouse Pond trail and passed a group of five hikers, looking half-mad with blood running down my nose.
I saw the best sight of the run not long after. Still on Schoolhouse Pond trail, the sky was bright orange as the sun sank behind the trees. A beautiful sight I'm unaccustomed to as I don't often run in the woods at dusk. I jumped back on Vin Gormley for the rest of the run. Plenty of mountain bike tracks made the running easy and the Yaktax performed wonderfully. No slippage whatsoever. Lots of gunfire coming from North Burlingame. I don't know what they were hunting but they sure shot the shit out of it.
It was getting pretty dark by the time I reached that tiny covered bridge and I had to be extra careful. It was more mud than snow here and it was getting tough to see the roots and rocks even with the headlamp. Running through the camp was fun as there was plenty of snow to plow through. Overall a great winter run. I've never had to run in these conditions before but the Yaktrax make it a lot of fun. Sunday's Resolution 5k should be interesting for sure!
Wednesday - 0 milesP90X Chest, Shoulders & Triceps (60 minutes)
Ab Ripper X (20 minutes)
Thursday - Cuttyhunk Brook Preserve - Exeter, RI - 7.2 milesI was going to do a track workout but figured the Bryant might be under snow (I'll have to verify and/or find another track to run on. Or I could just drop the speed work for a bit.) So back into the woods I would go! But where? I left the house with plenty of time to run before work but unsure of my destination. I had sort of grudgingly accepted Wolf Hill in Smithfield when it occurred to me that there was a nature area in Exeter not far from where I was. So I turned left onto Route 102 and lo! Discovered the Cuttyhunk Brook Preserve. Another winter wonderland to explore. I strapped on the Yaktrax and off I went into the cold on the only marked trail here - the Yellow Loop trail.
The first quarter mile of trail was well traveled. In fact it looked as if someone had taken a snowblower to it. Soon it splits and then the going became a little tougher. Still several sets of footprints and paws to follow but I was working harder. I hit the plowed "unimproved road" and decided to continue north on a less traveled trail. The trail was wide open and there was but a single set of footprints to follow. My hands were freezing and I was starting to have doubts about being out here. Eventually the footprints ended and I continued on briefly before deciding to head back to more well worn paths. So cold my hands!
I travelled down "unimproved road" and explored a side road that led to some crazy survivalist's property. Went back and continued down "unimproved road" until I reached Stony Lane. Turned around and found where the Yellow Loop trail reentered the woods. My hands were finally starting to warm up and from this point on it was all gravy - following footprints along the Yellow Loop trail and exploring some side trails. At one point I think I followed a hunter's footprints into the bush but otherwise I stuck to higher traffic trails. Finished the Yellow Loop with time to spare so I ran it in reverse as well.
Friday - Smithfield, RI - 5.2 milesAb Ripper X (20 minutes)
Another day, another run in the snowy woods. I started off on the Fidelity walking paths which showed no sign of human traffic, only lots of animal tracks. Then off into the woods on my frequented trails. Hunters and their offroad vehicles had made nice wide tracks for me to run in and I thank them for it. I followed in their wake until the trail hit a stream bed at which point the vehicles had turned around. Not I! I continued but it became slow going as I was breaking through the snow and it was probably six inches deep.
I made my way along a singletrack which was quickly tiring me out. Eventually I popped back out onto the main trail - the return of the jeep tracks were most welcome. Then I jumped on Hanton City "Road," a dirt trail of rolling hills. No jeep tracks but luckily there were some ATV tracks that I could run in, though they were days old and starting to get buried in snow drifts. Still, the road was wide open and the bright sun refreshed me even as I was working hard.
This was a great week of trail running. I wasn't sure how I would fare running in the snow but it turns out that I really enjoy it! Definitely hard work at times but worth it. I'm taking tomorrow off and looking forward to the Resolution 5k on Sunday.