nature, running

out in it

I have simply GOT to get a phone with a camera in it. All this trail running I’ve been doing, and no fabulous photos to show for it – my smallest camera is too large, and if I’m going to bother carrying small electronics, said electronics had better involve telephony.

The beastie above was in my garden a few weeks ago. I wish the photo were of some of the sights on last Saturday’s run in Lebanon Hills park. It was an amazing fall day- colorful trees, dappled light, still plenty of grasshoppers tickling my legs, leaves crunching under my feet, and an almost perfect temperature.

Here’s the discovery I really wanted to capture: I’m running along one of the grassier, wetter parts of the park, and see in front of me what appear to be two whiffle balls, sitting right together smack dab in the middle of the fire road-width trail. Weird. But families with kids do come through here quite often; maybe these toys just got forgotten. I pass them. They don’t have holes, like normal whiffle balls. And one’s a little bigger than the other. Odd. I stop dead in my tracks, walk back. Poke at one, softly, because I’m now thinking they are puffball mushrooms. The move like a large button mushroom would move. Somewhat firm, but they don’t seems to contract to my touch. So, maybe they’re not of the puffball variety, but wow. Huge mushrooms, in the middle of a trail. Clearly no dog has been here lately.

It’s such a nice, big park. Thankfully, a while ago I gave up on the business of trying to count miles on trail runs, and a trail run is now simply, beautifully, a fun hour or two of exploring. After a few failed attempts to follow “recommended” routes from Kate Havelin’s book, I determined that either a) she and I navigate using entirely different methods, or b) she confuses the reader on purpose, in order to force him/her to just enjoy the time on the trail.

Whatever the conversion method, it worked: It’s a lot more enjoyable to just decide on how many minutes I want to run, using a rough estimate of my pace, and then stopping when I reach that goal time. I never know where I’ll be! However, I may have to revise this plan, should I continue trail running, this winter. In warm weather, I don’t mind walking even up to an hour, to get back to my car, but in the winter, when I may get chilled during the walk back. I may have to do a little more careful planning, in terms of my route, and in terms of clothing.

That can wait, a week or two. I’m off to Phoenix for a trail race, this weekend. I don’t have to put away the sunscreen, just yet!


3 thoughts on “out in it

  1. I know Kate; she wouldn’t try to mislead anyone. I’ve had the same trouble with her routes, though; the trails in one of my favorite parks are completely changed since her book came out and we seem to see different landmarks.

  2. Oh, I’m sure she didn’t mean to mislead. You mention the somewhat less humorous (in my navigation-challenged mind) third option that I should have listed: trails change. That said, the book is a great resource. Lebanon Hills’ signage has improved quite a bit, since that book came out. The park is using a pretty innovative wayfinding method which works, mostly. I don’t agree with some of the other “innovations” in the park, but the signs are now much more helpful.

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