Sunday, May 11, 2008

Summer weather is here, and so are the snakes... new section of the Florida Trail - I-75 Land Bridge trail

I successfully increased my long run to 10 miles (estimated) this morning on the Florida Scenic Trail. I kept the pace pretty slow as this would be my longest run of the year, and it was already 75 degrees when I got up before dawn. I was concerned about fluid intake, so I planned on splitting the run in half, running west from the trailhead, returning to my car for a reload of H2O, then running east, out and back. I normally prefer running a single out-and-back run, or a loop, but I'm glad I chose this plan as I drained my single water bottle by mile 4. I needed some walk breaks today to cope with the heat and a surprisingly hilly (for Florida!) stretch. This old Barge Canal project area is not as flat as a pancake! After 5 miles I stopped to get more water and met two fit-looking guys just returning from their own trail run. They had Camelbaks and suggested I give 'em a try, so I expect I will. My second half featured increasingly tired legs, so the flatter terrain was appreciated. I did get a treat on this stretch - yet another black racer sighting. I came right up behind this one before it knew it, and then it shot away.

Kudos to the volunteers maintaining these sections of the trail - it was totally clear of downed branches and trees.

Wildlife report: 1 deerfly attack, 2 spiders crawling on me, no mosquitoes, 1 small skink, 1 black racer - 3rd in 3 days - I saw one while running Friday and another behind my garage when I got home (wildlife report does not include the more common squirrels and barely glimpsed small birds and lizards).

Trail pros and cons (this section and time of year) -
+ mostly good shade throughout (I skipped wearing a cap and shades and didn't really miss them), western section heading across the I-75 land bridge - varied terrain, no observed poison ivy
- eastern portion had two areas loaded with poison ivy (recommend high socks) and I got some spiderwebs in the face (occupational hazard for trail runners though)


Beth said...

Ahh, I want to go on a trail run soon. All of my runs so far have been on the street, and it's getting rather boring. As a side note, I love that you linked to me via pancake. Go pancakes!!!!!

Jeff said...

I was hoping you wouldn't mind the pancakes link. I've been known to consume a few after a weekend morning run. :-)

I seem to do better getting off the roads on a regular basis - softer footing, a change of scenery, and a chance to see wildlife. When I was easing back into running, I did more of a trail hike with a few stretches of running thrown in. Some of the soft sandy areas made for tough footing but probably made life easier on my shins.