As I did last Friday I went to the gym after work yesterday (Friday) with plans to run. I think we were on 8 consecutive days of rain come yesterday. It was raining pretty hard in the early afternoon but stopped by 5:30 when I stepped out of the gym ready to run. I turned on my Garmin watch and stretched while I waited for the GPS to pick up my position. Following that I headed down the parking lot to 148th ave and then North for maybe half a mile until I reached a dirt (mud now) trail that went due West for about a mile. It's mostly flat and muddy which makes it very slippery to run on. The trail has a couple of short very steep climbs and drops. Nothing that you'd have to walk but enough that my pace really slowed as I was working my calves pretty hard to grunt up it or bouncing side to side on the edges of the muddy trail on the way down so that I didn't slide down it on my butt.
Eventually after about a mile and half I hit the NE corner of Bridle Trails State Park. I finally found a trail map online of the basic layout of the area and where the major trails went. My plan was to run around the entire perimeter of the park depending on how well I'd memorized the shape of the park from the map. With all of the rain lately the trails were a bit slow (Did I mention that it was muddy?) and on top of the frequent mud puddles there were frequently piles of horse crap. It's funny that people give you a hard time if you don't pick up after your dog but no horse owner would ever think of picking up after their 2000lb animal and the giant piles that it creates right in the middle of the trails. The downside of the mud and crap was that I had to zig-zag across the trail frequently to avoid the mud that was deep enough to pull my shoe off as well as the horse flop.
I had the place to myself it seemed. I only saw one other person the whole time I was there, a young woman running the opposite direction. It was really nice to just jog around these deserted trails with my iPod in one ear and nothing but trees around me. No houses, no wind, no cars, no horses. I got a little lost coming around the southwest corner of the trail and a little mixed up when I hit the gravel path that bisects the park but was able to make it up as I went because of the orientation of the park. It's a rectangle with a few bits cut out of it and the edges point N/S and E/W. I always knew roughly where I was and what direction I needed to go. Eventually I got around to the South East side where I'd exited the park last week and this time continued North back to my starting point. This was by far the worse section when it came to the mud. The tree cover was the lightest here as well. There were plenty of sections of trail that were all mud and water and I did my best to run along the edges of the trail or slightly off-trail to avoid getting too muddy. Eventually I completed the loop which measured about 4.8mi. I then followed the same path back down the path to 148th ave and back to the Gym.
Oddly I ended up with 8.0 miles right as I stepped foot in the Gym parking lot. This isn't a true measure of the distance I ran though. I was stopping the watch when I'd stop for anything (stoplight, lost, traffic) and then I wouldn't start it up again until it registered a sub 10min pace for me. I do this because my pace/speed graphs get completely skewed otherwise with brief spikes for 1mph input points from the GPS watch. I probably had another 1/10th - 2/10ths of a mile that wasn't accounted for on the watch.
I did keep rough track of my splits for a change though:
Lap Dist Time AvgHR
1 1.00mi 8:03 138bpm
2 1.01mi 9:35 155bpm
3 1.00mi 9:09 149bpm
4 1.00mi 9:23 149bpm
5 1.07mi 10:09 151bpm (hit the lap button late)
6 0.93mi 8:32 150bpm
7 1.01mi 9:20 152bpm
8 0.99mi 8:31 150bpm
T 8.00mi 1:12:48 149bpm
I got back to the gym and had to go to the showers and wash off my legs before going to the weight room for the rest of my workout. Great place to run, I look forward to running there after a few days of Sun when I'm not struggling to find a path through the slop. Great way to burn 1200 calories.