When I got off work yesterday the temperature gauge in my car said 88 degrees. It felt like it too. I also knew that my gym would feel like 108 degrees and that I’d have to find some shade if I wanted a run that would redeem Thursday’s torturous journey. The first thing that came to mind was the Northern Central Railroad (NCR) Trail.
Honestly, I think I may be the last Marylander to have ventured out and discovered all the wonders of the NCRT. Since I run alone 99% of the time, I never felt comfortable with the idea of running in largely unpopulated areas, especially one I was unfamiliar with. A few weeks ago though, I somehow convinced Kirk to join me for a short run. While he hated it (the running, not the trail – he bitched with every footfall!), I fell in love. The best part was the trail is far more populated than I thought it would be and I didn’t get the skeevies at all. After a couple miles Kirk turned to me and said that he’d be fine with me coming by myself – you know, in between gasping breaths and profanities – so I’m not really sure if he said it because he really believed it or simply out of fear that I might start dragging him along every weekend. Either way, I knew I had the green light.
On the way to the Ashland trail head, I stopped by Charm City Run and picked up one of these:
A SPIbelt! I’ve been eying these for a while now. I’ve been wearing wristlets for the last couple years but there is only so much you can put in those (a few bits of a granola bar, a key) before it gets cumbersome. I’ve heard a lot about SPIbelts and their bounce-free versatility and decided that with marathon training commencing this week it was time for a new toy.
So, I took my SPIbelt on its annaurgural run on the NCR Trail. I think it’s going to take some getting used to as I’ve never worn anything around my waist while running before, but overall I was really pleased with the belt. Off the bat I was impressed with how much that teeny pocket could hold! It’s made of swimsuit-like material (spandex I’m guessing though it doesn’t really say) that stretches to fit all sorts of goodies. I had my cell phone in there and carried my iPod, but I could have easily tucked both into the SPIbelt and then some. Once I found the proper fit (for me this was in front, granny-style), the belt didn’t bounce much at all. My only complaint was that it made my shorts hike up a bit, but again, I think if I play with the clips a bit and adjust the length it will be perfect. The fact that I was more focused on the beautiful scenery then I was on my new accessory is also a good indicator of comfort. Love that green!
The trail is flat, flat, flat or at least the first three miles that I’ve become familiar with (I’ve been running out and back 4-6 milers). The ground is a packed stone/gravel and wide enough to pass others three abreast. This is good since there are a fair amount of bikes on the trail – and horses too apparently, though I’ve yet to see one. I did however have a close encounter with a deer and her young one. They leapt out in front of me - mom first, then baby – bringing me to a dead stop 20 feet away. I must have somehow frightened the fawn because it looked at me and then abandoned all plans of crossing the path and turned around. Mom, came bounding back and followed his retreating white tail back into the woods. The whole episode took maybe 6 seconds, but I was able to watch them off to the side of the trail for a while and struck up a conversation with a fellow startled runner who kept oohing, “Soooooo cuuute!!!”, because yeah, they really were. :) Of course I forgot that my handy SPIbelt was carrying my camera phone until I passed this magical sight:
How gorgeous is this? Really.
I also discovered the NCR Trail Marathon today. A marathon? On my new favorite running trail? Does it get any better than that?! It’s at the end of November … is it crazy to sign up for a second marathon before even completing my first? You know what? I’ve decided I don’t care!