Monthly Archives: October 2013

Boot Scoot Boogie….Wet Weather Trail Running has its Hazards!

Standard
Got Rain?  No problem. Let's go!

Got Rain?
No problem. Let’s go!

 

Today I knew as soon as my feet hit the first slippery incline I had worn the wrong shoes.

Evidently in my dazed morning gear up I had absentmindedly put on my Asics Equation shoes Instead of my Asics Trail runners.
Believe it or not, the shoe can make or break a good trail run.

I was really excited I suppose because of yesterdays glorious fog run/walk (I’ll post about it soon) I could not wait to get back out there, even though it was raining this morning I had the gear to make it happen and I was going to keep on schedule. The temperature was awesome a nice cool but comfortable 59* and very little or no wind, so the falling rain, even though it can be bothersome really didn’t affect me at all since I had a waterproof rain jacket and hood.

Not going to win any awards for fashion, but I'm dry.

Not going to win any awards for fashion, but I’m dry.

I find the best way to combat wet glasses is to wear a hood and then a baseball cap. That kind of holds the hood on and it doesn’t blow off when you take off running. Because nothing is worse than trying to put your hood back on while you are running and trying to pay attention to where you’re going.

Well actually that’s not true, there are worse things…and I found them today.

Hazards are a part of any run. Whether you are in the city, on asphalt, concrete, the track at the gym, the park or woodland treks like the one I was on today. They all have their pitfalls, some of them are natural and some of them are manmade.

While I avoided the cracked sidewalk/baby stroller/loose dog urban hazards, today I was privy to the Mole/puddle/loose mulch/slippery surface/can’t see because my glasses are wet hazards.

I despise Moles. I’m a fairly tolerant gal of most of the critters but Moles just can’t seem to stay in their proper places. They break the rules and once those rules are broken it’s hard to get them to change their path. They love mulch, soft ground and trails that stay irrigated and loose. It helps their little near sighted selves navigate easier thru the clay and rocks that abound in this terrain. In my county, limestone shelves reside about 5 inches below all the land here. So finding an easy path to burrow is what the Mole is all about.
However, his tunnels and paths really provide a sketchy foot path for the unwary runner.
I have had over 500 miles in this particular wooded area and I still fell victim to this dastardly devil this morning and nearly cracked my ankle in half by not keeping my eye on the trail and instead surveying the area for wildlife.
That was my mistake.
You just can’t take your eyes off of the trail when it is this soft. It’s just asking for an injury or at the very least a twisted ankle and a dirty knee or two.

This seems harmless but a softened hollow in the earth of three inches can do a lot of damage to a knee or ankle.

This seems harmless but a softened hollow in the earth of three inches can do a lot of damage to a knee or ankle.

 

Learning to recognize Mole trails and tunnels is easy once you recognize the pattern in the earth. If you see a path or stretch of ground that has raised “vein – like” dark spots from exposed dirt or debris, slow down and take a look. It could save you injury and pain.  Just look for raised earth patterns, small mounds, exposed crevices and disturbed leaves on the surface if nothing else…and then test it with your feet. If it breaks thru easily and there are soft patches, you’ve hit a Mole haven. And they aren’t leaving anytime soon. Although in the Winter they have a tendency to settle in and leave the traveling behind…with Spring and throughout the rest of the year, if they have arrived, until something eats them for lunch…they aren’t leaving. So learn to run around them if you can.

Raised areas of earth indicate a Mole presence. Avoid running on these soft surfaces if possible.

Raised areas of earth indicate a Mole presence. Avoid running on these soft surfaces if possible.

 

 

Just a gentle push down with you shoe will let you know immediately what you're dealing with. Since uneven earth is also a normal phenomenon, if its soft that is the difference between the mole trail and natural ground swelling.

Just a gentle push down with you shoe will let you know immediately what you’re dealing with. Since uneven earth is also a normal phenomenon, if its soft that is the difference between the mole trail and natural ground swelling.

Another hazard for me was the “slippery surface” hazard. You never think of having to contend with manmade surfaces in the woods but often you run into bridges, crosswalks, asphalt etc…and you go quickly from mulch and grass to a hard slippery surface and find yourself slipping or completely loosing your footing. I’ve done this on several occasions nad until I bought my Asics Scram I had no idea how much better it could be.

Bridge over not-so-troubled waters...

Bridge over not-so-troubled waters…

But back to the trek and the troubles…Which brings me to the puddles…Clever little puddles. Sometimes you see ’em sometimes you don’t. But thankfully, aside from a wet shoe, they aren’t as tricky as the Mole dips. Unless they are super muddy and then you’re toast.

Puddles can be obvious or well hidden under floating leaves. Learned this the hard way.

Puddles can be obvious or well hidden under floating leaves. Learned this the hard way.

All in all, the best defense is a good offense. Do your homework, find a great water resistant hoodie that you can toss on your running gear, Keep an extra hat in the car and a pair old shoes to put on after you undoubtedly baptize your running shoes in some sneaky watering hole. But be careful, be smart and enjoy yourself.
In all weather.

For me, that is key. Having a good time. Enjoying the clothes I’m in, the place I’m at and the thoughts running through my head. Don’t bring work with you to the woods, problems or annoying work issues, for that moment in time, be good to your spirit and your body. Don’t worry about how you look when you run or who is watching you or if someone else has better timing or a body of steel.

You do you the best you can.
Enjoy the body you are in.
Be good to yourself and just be thankful for having the time to get out there and let off some steam.
Don’t compare yourself to others or push yourself to do things that are not comfortable for you yet.
Maybe you are just beginning to run. Build up your strength in your legs and ankles by taking walks and taking on inclines in good and proper shoes.
woods10
You don’t start out running.
Run in spurts. Run. Walk. Run. Walk…before you know it, you’re running more than you are walking.
Or just enjoy the fast paced walk and get your groove on that way.

Whatever works for you.
Whatever gets you out of the car and out of the house.

Do that.
Because that is pretty awesome.
But be careful as the weather changes, because you don’t want a set back.
Prepare. Be smart and keep your eyes on the road…

Happy Trails.

woods5

 

 

 

 

Advertisements