It's not exactly a wilderness trail, since it passes behind homes of every shape and size, from humble farms to mini-mansions with huge picture windows. But it's dirt and rock and it's off the streets. I'll take it.
The photo is from my turnaround point, looking back at North Table Mountain. It was great to be outside with temps just below 70 degrees at dusk:
As usual, there were plenty of fenced-in dogs along the trail that didn't seem to share in the joy of running. Those dogs and I have conversations that go something like this:
- Dog: "Rar! Rar! Rar! Rar-rar-rar! Snork! Growl! Rar! Rar! Rar!"
- Me: "Oh, my God! A human running on a public trail, something you've seen every day, all year long, for your entire life! Rar! Rar! Rar!"
- Dog: (unfazed by sarcasm) "Rar! Rar! Rar! Rar-rar-rar!"
- Me: (something threatening which I won't repeat here)
Well, the ones that don't want to bite me.
I tried to run relaxed, and did a bit better than Tuesday when I was trying to rush back to my car.
Being solo and nearly in darkness, with the mad farm dogs, coyotes and the occasional lion about, I ran back on roads rather than trail, squinting against headlights, running by headlamp.
Earlier in the day, I saw the first flowers of spring: some yellow crocus outside a nearby office building. In the evening, I also saw -- and swallowed -- my first first flying bugs of the season. Black gnats were swarming over the trail in the woods near Easley Road (they tasted like tiny chickens). I'm guessing riverside trails are going to be gnat-infested for the next month or so.
It was dark when I ran the last stretch through the woods to the Tony Grampas complex parking lot. I clapped to scare any critters away, and then noticed the dude drinking beer alone in the dark leaning against the bridge. So as not to further startle him, as I ran past I said, "Hey, just clapping to scare anything away, so I don't get trampled...". He chuckled as I ran past him and his 40-oz.
Distance was 7.45 miles, moving time 1:08, moving pace 9:07, elevation gain/loss 273 feet.
By the way, although I ran in the Cascadia 5 this time, my New Balance 890s arrived, and they are light and foamy. They weigh 10 3/8 ounces each (size 11), compared to 13 7/8 ounces for my Cascadia 5 (size 11). They feel good on the feet, and they are form-fitting without any hot spots. I am hopeful they will make a good sidewalk/road/path shoe, maybe for some faster workouts.