Friday, May 27, 2011
This post has been incubating in my head for far too long. Much like my last post it was delayed by just being too busy. On many of my runs I've been thinking about one of my favorite parts about running: being outside!
Sure, the treadmill is fine, but one of my favorite parts about running is nature. I wish I could run on trails and in less urban areas more, but fortunately even in the Twin Cities I get to see a fair amount of natural beauty in in town and in the 'burbs.
A little over a week ago I took some time to drive out to Afton State Park, just east of St. Paul. I'm running a 50k out there July 2 and I thought it'd be good to get a couple of runs in before the race. I must say, it was one of my favorite runs of the spring.
There's some crazy hills in the park, but it was also a great day for running. The temperature was in the low 60s and there was a pleasant breeze. The trails I ran on went by the St. Croix River, through some prairie and oak savanna, as well as through deciduous forests and stands of pine.
The wildlife I came across on my run was awesome. It'd be nice to bring a camera on a trail run, but I'm nearly certain I'd sweat on it and ruin it. If I did have a camera I could have gotten shots of wild turkey, a scarlet tananger, and two large white tail deer.
It was great running at Afton but I'm also fortunate to have a couple of parks within running distance of my house. At Fort Snelling State Park I can run by the Minnesota River on a very flat, sandy trail, and at Lebanon Hills Regional Park I can circle several small lakes. I also see lots of birds around Eagan--cardinals, egrets, eagles, and turkeys to name a few.
Getting outside and running in the spring in Minnesota is great. Tomorrow we're headed up to a couple of state parks near Duluth and I'm looking forward to getting some quality trail running in up there.