Monday, March 23, 2009

Weekend Camera Run

Who knew it was so much fun to take pictures while running?! I had never run a step with a camera before, but I tucked one into the front zipper-pocket of my Nathan HPL running pack this weekend, and off I went down the Bull Run trail. We're still about 2 weeks away from the colors of spring arriving here in DC, but I still had fun snapping a few shots of the course in the final days of its winter slumber. I should preface these pics by saying I have zero skill as a photographer, and I was also using a camera that may or may not have come free with the purchase of a box of Golden Grahams cereal. That said, enjoy!

I took this picture before starting out on my 15 mile out-n-back on the northern end of the Bull Run course today. I haven't been able to test this 3-part below-the-knee arrangement for a 50 or 100 miler yet, but thus far everything has passed the early tests and will most likely be what I wear for my next two races:

1) Obviously the Drymax socks are a necessity for all my runs/races. Once I get in a few more 40-50 mile training runs, I'll see if I prefer the Maximum Protection socks (which I use on the roads) over the Trail versions (shown here)...but at this point, the Trails socks have passed with flying colors.

2) I've reached the point where I am fully in love with my compression socks now. The Red are my favorite too. With me being a huge baseball fan from Boston, it always makes me smile when people I pass yell out "I like those Red Socks!"...and I get to reply "I like the Red Sox too!".

3) I've been dying to put in a true long run in my Vasque 'Aether Tech SS' shoes for the longest time...they're almost too good to be true with how perfect they feel on my feet while tearing up the trails. They're so light, but somehow they also protect my feet from rocks and roots too (and no, they don't pay me to say that). The only potential downside is how they breathe when it gets hot out (they seem pretty air-tight). The next few months of hotter weather will provide that test for them...

The Bull Run trail is such a nice mix of hills, rocks, roots, and wildlife (too many white-tailed deer to count!), I wish I could run it every day!

Oh yeah, and it's also an Historic Civil War Battlefield! About 4 miles up the trail from the starting line of the race, you come across this sign which marks an old artillery emplacement from the war....
Here's what the "Artillery Emplacement" looks like. It's a series of mounds that form a between each mound is where they'd place their weapons. It's so cool to run around it and imagine the soldiers from the North hiding in there as they waited for the advancing troops in this valley below...
This is the view of the valley along the river where the Southern forces would have approached. (The Artillery Emplacement was directly behind me as I took this picture).

Speaking of the river, much of the trail follows it along the northern part of the course (not sure about the southern part, since I haven't run it yet!)
Here's another shot of the trail along the river. You can see the water level is pretty low right now...this course tends to get quite muddy when that river rises to toward those banks!

There may not be any Port-a-Pottys in the woods, but the hole in this tree is HUGE (taller than me). I'm not saying it should be used for that reason, I'm just saying it would offer some privacy in an emergency...

Do you think the woodpeckers like this poor tree?!

Finally, some signs of spring!! These daffodils will be in bloom by race-day (along with a few million blue-bells, so I'll be sure to bring back the camera and get some shots of all the race-course flora next month!


AnthonyP said...

I love running with a camera, and almost never hit the trails without one. Great to see the BRR course pics. I am registered for it, but am on the fence about it as it is just 2 weeks out from Umstead 100.

Dan Rose said...

Hey Tony,

If you run Umstead hard and reach your goal (sub-24, I'm assuming), then you might not need to beat yourself up again at Bull Run (even on a good day the course will take bit out of you).

Then again, you might want a nice and easy "victory lap" through the scenic trails of VA while you brag to all the other runners about having just buckled at Umstead.

I would say the effort needed for Bull Run is about the same as the first 4 loops of Umstead (50 miles). The terrain is definitely rougher at Bull Run since you're on trails and not dirt roads, but the overall elevation gain is probably similar (about 4500-5000 feet for 50 miles). Take that for what it's worth while making your decision.

...but don't worry about Bull Run've got Umstead first and foremost on the horizon. Focus on killing that course and only worry about Bull Run after you've got a shiny new silver buckle on your belt on April 5!

Good Luck!

Chris Roman said...

Good stuff. Gets me excited for my trail 50k this weekend at Guana!