Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tail-waggin' & Trail-stompin'

Days 'til 35k- 38
Days 'til Marathon- 102

Today's Location- Dutch Gap Conservation Area, Chester VA
Here's their website with a map, etc. - http://www.chesterfield.gov/Parks.aspx?id=6442454866

Distance- 6mi
Pace- 10:20 min/mile (running with my Mutts is always entertaining but never speedy)

My plan this morning was to head to Pocahontas after dropping Lu off at school to log about 7 miles with Porter & Val. Unfortunately, I found when I got to Pocahontas, it was CLOSED for a "Managed Deer Hunt." Now, there's a nice little curve-ball in my morning. Of course, P&V knew where we were; they were practically foaming at the mouth with excitement, itching to get out on the trail and cause some mayhem with the squirrels. You can imagine the dancing, 4-legged tantrums that took place when we drove right past the parking area.

So, since I was already halfway there, I decided to head out to Dutch Gap, which is just south of Richmond in Chester. A Chesterfield County Parks & Rec area, they have a 5-ish mile loop trail that's super flat, easily accessible and very pretty. It made for a nice little 6-miler on a gorgeous morning.

Dutch Gap is a sort of strange place, in that its located directly next to a HUGE Dominion VA Power facility. So, there's all this smoke and metal and barbed-wire adjacent to the nature conservatory area, which is filled with wildlife, quiet and beautiful. Here's the view across the water.

I couldn't believe how many birds, ducks, geese & heron we saw (and heard) this morning. They were EVERYWHERE! A bird-watcher's paradise, we saw a few people out with their big-lensed cameras, waiting to get that perfect shot.

Today's run was all about the dogs and just enjoying being out on the trail. For me, running isn't "work", or something that I dread at all (usually). I've got distance-goals and some idea of how long I'd like those distances to take me, but I really try not to forget why I fell in love with trail-running in the beginning: the dirt, the sunshine, the breeze, the unpredictability and the views. These things seem to be the dogs' favorite things about being out on the trail, too. Watching them bound along beside me, wrestle in the mud and chase squirrels and birds makes me smile. I love my little 4-legged trail mates, even though they do sometimes cause mischief.

If Dutch Gap wasn't 30mins from my house, we'd go there a lot more frequently. Its never crowded and the pups LOVE the sandy water areas. The required bath-time upon arriving back home is a pain for everyone involved, but totally worth it.

Hooray for sand, water and MUD! Val got completely soaked, head to toe. I picked Lucy up from school today with the dogs still in the back. Her reaction, "Eww dogs! Need bath!" ha! Dirty dogs are happy dogs  :)