Wednesday, January 7, 2009

little differences in running and biking and living

Often (the last couple years) my first trail runs of the year, or my first trail runs in a while, come after receiving Trail Runner magazine in the mail. That is why I subscribe to it - it gets me out there. Today, I got two copies at the same time – issue 56 and 57. I’m not sure why they decided to send out two magazines at once, but I interpret it as some kind of double challenge from them. Luckily for me, by the time I got to my mailbox to discover the magazines waiting for me, I had already made it out for a great trail run on El Prieto. I beat them to it. Ha!

All of my runs start out on sidewalk. At about 1.3 miles I feel comfortable running in the street – asphalt is softer than concrete. Then at about two point something miles it switches to a dirt path – softer still. On my long runs, this is where I spend most of my time – the dirt path. My actual trail (mountain) running is generally limited to a dozen or so runs per year. I’m not sure why there is such a noticeable difference between dirt path running and trail running but there just is and it’s not just the steeper inclines.

I rode “Totally Eighties” today to the trailhead. I haven’t ridden that bike in a long time. I added 100 psi to the tires – that’s how long it’s been. There’s something very special about that bike. I’m not sure what the right word is to describe it (her) - delicate, maybe. But it’s a strong delicate – spry, lithe, lovely – like a violin - totally different from my other bikes - as different as dirt path running is from trail running.

I saw a lot of Mugwort (Artemisia douglasiana) on the trail - a cool plant. I heard once that you can collect its dried leaves and roll them up into a nice tight ball (smudge) that, once ignited, will smolder, flameless, for many hours – long enough to travel to ones next destination – just give the smoldering Mugwort a little breath at your next fireplace and you’ve got the magic of fire – the breath that reminds us… of ancient knowledge.

On the way down the trail I was trying to keep my stride as normal as possible without altering it to avoid trail obstacles. This was interesting and freeing, actually. It helped to maintain a good flow down the hill. Although, it did make me feel a lot like Bigfoot – big long strides that seem to melt into the surrounding terrain – not a bad dude to take trail running lessons from.

Anyway, it was a good day - glad to spend some time with the mountain.


A Midnight Rider said...

I ran consistantly for a few weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. Got fit and lost some weight.

The weight is all back on and the path and back roads are still ice covered.

Jonah said...

I hope your running trails clear up soon. In the mean time, I've heard of people taking an old pair of running shoes and screwing in sheet metal screws (or any kind) into the soles (pointing up). Placed strategically (a few in the back, a few in the front at key contact points) it seems like this might give pretty good traction. Just keep the screws to the outside of the sole – outside of your own foot – and use screws that are short enough to say in the sole.