Thursday, December 5, 2013

RVA Trails around the James.

Urban Trek Thursday

Location: RVA James River Park System. Buttermilk & North Bank Trails 
Distance: 8 miles
Pace: 10:56 min/mile
Elevation Change: 2,765ft (Gotta include this today to make my time seem better, ha!)
Link to Map:

Today I decided to leave the pups at home and venture out to the James River Park trails while Lu was hangin' with her peeps. Hoping that I wouldn't get lost and leave her stranded at preschool, I carried along my map (security blanket) and phone (binky). I've been out on those trails a handful of times, but never solo. The James River Scramble 10k is a trail race that I look forward to every year, but I'm usually trying to get a decent time and paying little attention to navigational information. Maybe this is why I love races so much; I don't have to pay a bit of attention to where I'm going, just following the pack. This is likely not a wise method, but old habits die hard, eh? 

I trust my sense of direction as close to zero as possible without offending myself, so I was a little nervous about maneuvering through new trails and making it back to get my kiddo in time. Although I did get a little turned around at a couple of places, I was pretty proud of myself for making it back to the car without getting entirely lost in the woods. 

OK, so I did get a little confused getting onto the Nickel Bridge from Buttermilk. After ending up at the train-tracks, practically IN the river, I got the feeling I must have missed a turn. Whoops. It added a nice little climb to the run and I'll never make that mistake again! The jog across the Nickel/Boulevard Bridge provided some nice views, worth the extra chiggers.

Photos taken from Nickel (Boulevard) Bridge

 Navigational issues aside, the James River Park system is a blast. I'm looking forward to gaining more confidence navigating back there and discovering new spots to get muddy  :) Lots of steep, short climbs made it difficult to get into a great rhythm, while also making it an awesome workout. These trails are super popular with mountain-biker types, so I wanted to get out there during the week, when most of those poor saps are stuck in their offices instead of zooming past (and scaring the bejeebies out of ) me on their mountain bikes like a bunch of maniacs.

North Bank Trail
Not only was the trail a bit rockier than I remember, another little surprise arrived about halfway through my run: RAIN! What the flip, Andrew Freiden?! I specifically checked your forecast this morning and you very cheerily told me that it would be a cloudy but pleasant day with NO rain. I should have recorded you telling me that, then posted a pic of myself around 10:45 this morning, soaked head to toe, slipping down the side of the North Bank trail and almost falling into the James River. What. The. Flip.

Luckily my killer pair of Brooks trail shoes didn't let me down. I had impressively solid traction and no near-slips, even though much of the route traversed over slippery rocks and wet bridges. It was a much more technical run than I usually tackle, so even though I was griping a little along the way, it was a groovy run overall.

I had to stop to snap a pic of this train near Hollywood Cemetery. Lucy is train-CRAZY, and I knew she'd love to see it. I showed it to her on my phone and she carried it around with her for 30 minutes, having a melt-down every time my phone went to sleep and "her" train went off the screen.

And, just like that, my day went...

from this...

to this  :)

Back to our regularly scheduled toddler-programming!