This morning's run was 1 hour easy on the trails near the river. This is currently my favorite place for my every day runs. A while ago, Kevin and I cleaned out some overgrown and unused single track so we could use it for mountain biking. There was already some clear runnable double track back there. Using both, I have come up with a 5+ mile course that I am loving for my morning runs. I can easily add on extra for more miles when I want to.
About a week ago, I was surprised to find that virtually every single rock, root, and stump on the double track had been marked with fluorescent orange paint. Someone has been out there re-marking and putting up tape and flags ever since. I am guessing that Sacoppee Valley H.S. has a cross country team again and they are using those trails for their race course. Cross Country was cut from the budget over a decade ago, so it's great if it is, in fact, back! But I can't understand the over-marking of the trail. It takes away greatly from the aesthetics of the woods, and it is WAY over-done. I think they had to really look hard to find some of the hazards that they marked, things you couldn't trip over if you tried.
I keep hoping I'll run into who ever is out there marking up the trail so I can talk to him or her and figure out what the heck they are thinking! If it is the cross country coach himself, I will try the tactic of telling him that he is ruining his home team advantage by marking every trip hazard. Instead, he should have his team practice on the course and learn all the hazards ahead of time. Then let the other teams have to pick their way slowly during the race while his runners fly over the hazards! Really, I don't care that much about the home team advantage, I just hate to see all that paint in the trail. Funny that things like this disturb me.
Anyway, paint aside, the trails are great for running. I start from home on about a half mile of road, do a short steep downhill into the woods, then hit the single track. The single track is flat, narrow, and winding, with nice views of the river and the changing leaves. (Mr Fluorescent Paint has not discovered these trails yet). These take me out to the double track, which has a few steep short bumps, then a nice long climb up to the school fields. Near the schools, the trail is flat again, followed by a really steep down on rough grass followed immediately by a really steep and rough uphill. I do this section fast because it's fun to fly down the hill and let my momentum carry me back up the steep uphill. I pretend I'm on the mountain bike while I do this, even holding onto the imaginary handlebars at times. Probably all the kids are looking out the school windows at me while I do this, saying "look, here's the lady with the imaginary bike again!" Then I go back into the woods and finish up by repeating the nice single track section, climbing back out of the woods, and running the half mile of pavement back to the house. Whoo-hoo, I love this course!