Last evening I got in some beautiful miles along the Little Gunpowder trail system. It seems as though spring lasted for a week in Maryland, and now the summer heat and humidity has taken over. The trails are in great shape, dry and fast, and the scenery has turned to shades of green at every turn.
I parked at the trail head on Bel Air Rd and headed north along the river, following the White Blazed Trail for about 4 miles. When I reached the Bottom Rd bridge, I turned right, making a long loop through the lush forrest terrain. I worked my way back to Bottom Rd and across the bridge to retrace my steps along the White Blaze going south.
All in all, I got in 9.5 sweaty miles. No complaints, it was a gorgeous day to get in some miles. As the temperature heats up, I am more and more aware of the nutrition, hydration, and supplements I am taking in over the course of a run. Last evening, I was taking salt tablets every 30 min and popping a chew every 20 min.
After what seemed to be a never ending winter, spring has finally arrived in Maryland. I have packed away the cold weather running gear and have welcomed back the days of t-shirt and shorts running.
Because of the longer days and warm temps, I have been trying to log miles anytime, and anyway I can. The trails throughout Rockburn and Patapsco State Parks have been my go-to spots lately for logging mileage. The trails are in great condition and the scenery is spectacular. Within a few days, the foliage went from dark and dreary, to green and full of life.
I cannot begin to put into words my joy for the warmer temperatures we have had in Maryland over the last few weeks. I have had multiple runs wearing shorts and a t-shirt!
Last evening I headed down to Rockburn/Patapsco Park to get in some easy-going mileage. I parked at the trail head on Landing Rd and worked my way through a counter-clockwise loop. The skies were cloudy with rain threatening but temperatures were in the upper 60’s and for the first time this year there was some humidity in the air.
In total I got in 6.70 miles. This is a great loop to get in some easy mileage with rolling hills and a few short, steep ascents. The legs were tired from the weekends activities, but it felt great to get out and sweat.
My wife and I woke up early, packed up the car with the two dogs, and headed out for a hiking adventure near Harpers Ferry, WV. We did a circuit up to Maryland Heights. For those living in the Baltimore/Washington areas, this is a must do hike, hands down.
We parked at the trail head on Harpers Ferry Rd and headed up the fire road. The hike would end up being a little over 5 miles, but don’t let that fool you. You will climb upwards of 1,600 ft over the 5 miles and will be rewarded with breathtaking views of Harpers Ferry. Aside from the views, the trail is rich in Civil War History. You will find ruins of forts, earthworks, naval batteries, and infantry encampments dating back to the early 1860’s.
We were treated with more than just the views and historical sites. At the trail head, we found traces of snow and temperatures in the low 40’s but as we climbed, we found more and more snow. The higher we hiked, the snowier and colder it got. At the highest point in the hike, there was well over 5 inches of snow on the ground, snow blowing from the trees, and temperatures in the low 20’s. What a difference a few miles and a few thousand feet can make!
By the time we finished, the trail head parking was nearly full. I would highly advise getting to the trail early. Trust me, this is a hike/run you will enjoy.
After being down and out for almost two weeks with some nasty viral infection, I finally made it out last evening for some easy miles. I headed down to Elkridge to run in Rockburn Park. After a rough several months of wet, muddy, and snowy trails, it was refreshing to run on dirt.
I parked at the trail head on Landing Rd and headed onto the eastern side of Rockburn to run an easy 4+ mile counterclockwise loop. It felt great to get out in the fresh air after being sick for days. The trails were in relatively good shape except for a few muddy spots. Considering the amount of snow and wet weather we have had in the region recently, I was pleasantly surprised at how well the trails have held up. The Rockburn trails are in great shape for a tremendous spring and summer of running. Get out and enjoy!
Recovery is a huge part of my training. As the miles start to build up, it is so important for me to take the necessary steps to help my body recovery properly and quickly.
When I look at recovery, I think of it in terms of fluid intake, caloric intake, and muscle treatment. Trust me, I am no expert nor physician when it comes to health but I have dialed in some easy steps I take to help my body recover after a long run, ride, or swim. Here are three simple steps I use for recovery.
1) Fluids, fluids, fluids. No matter how much I was able to consume during a long workout, I make it a point to take in as many “good”fluids as possible immediately after I finish. I have been a chocolate milk lover since birth, but I also use chocolate milk as a recovery tool after a hard workout.
2) Food, food, food. Again, no matter how much I consume from a calorie perspective during a long workout, I find it very important to replenish my system fairly quickly afterwards. My go-to lately has been a bacon-egg-cheese sandwich. I have found this type of concoction gives my body the fat, protein, and calories needed to help fuel recovery.
3) Muscle attention. I will use a combination of an ice bath plus compression afterwards to help reduce muscle swelling and soreness. While I have a serious hatred of plunging into a cold tub of ice, it works wonders for my recovery. I will also use compression sleeves or compression socks for my lower body. I have found that if I use the ice bath and compression, my muscles are much less sore and recover much faster the days following an intense workout.
After a nasty Monday in MD, the skies cleared for a Tuesday evening run. I headed south to the trails at Rockburn Park for an easy spin. I parked at the trail head off Landing Rd and worked the trails to the west. I knew it would be muddy, so the goal was to find as much dry dirt as possible in the park (I should say, find the sections of trail with the least amount of mud). After covering most of the trails on the western side of Landing Rd, I was pleased to find that all sections were runnable even though wet. The trails on the west side of landing road provide much less elevation change than the eastern trails so the run was more about getting in miles, than getting in elevation. There is a mix of wooded sections and open fields surrounding the ball parks, providing a fun mix of terrain and scenery. Overall, I got in just over 6.25 miles making for a nice Tuesday evening run.
After hearing the hype, I made the leap and picked up a pair of the Hoka One One Challenger ATR’s. Spoiler alert…….I was not a fan.
I know I will be in the minority here, but I was not happy with the shoes. I tested the shoes on some very technical terrain in Gambrill State Park and they did not perform well.
After wearing the shoes around the house for a few hours the day before the test drive, they felt very comfortable, but only a few miles into the run, I was already noticing issues. Because of the added cushion, my feet rode very high in the ATR’s, making foot strikes on uneven terrain very unstable and uncomfortable. My ankles and feet were tossed from side to side on every uneven step, putting a great deal of pressure on the outsides of my feet. I cut my run short because of the discomfort I was experiencing.
Don’t get me wrong, Hoka One One is a great brand, and has worked wonders for so many runners. I believe they put out a solid product. The construction and quality was great, the fit and functionality (for me) was not. Based on my experience, I would only feel comfortable using these shoes on groomed, flat trails. Unfortunately, these will not be my new go-to trail shoes.
Last evening I got out for a short hike/run with my two pups. We headed out on the trails at Soldiers Delight, near Owings Mills, MD. Parking at the trail head off Deer Park Rd, we did the counter clockwise loop on the parking lot side of the park. Because of the recent snow melt, the trails were a muddy, slippery mess (the dogs were in heaven, like two pigs wallowing in a sty). Despite the nasty conditions, we were able to do a short 2.5 mile loop with a mix of hiking/running.
The Soldiers Delight trails provide a great mix of terrain and difficulty. They are a great spot for any level of trail runner to get in some scenic miles.