Friday, December 14, 2007

Running The Ditch

There are some cool things left over in the Gold Country from the gold rush days and one of them are the ditches. Miners needed ways to move water so they created flumes, some of which are still in action today. Along some of the ditches are these great running trails that go for miles. I haven't even begun to explore them all. My favorites are Snow Mountain Ditch and Cascade Ditch.
Beautiful trail
I decided to do my long run on Thursday along Cascade which is just over 4 miles one way so I do the whole thing twice for 17 miles. Because I could use my truck as an aid station, I only had to carry 1 water bottle and a couple gels. I had some interviews from The Final Sprint on my MP3 so I was set to go. The temperature wasn't too bad when I was getting ready, I settled on shorts and a long sleeve shirt. One thing about the ditches tho, the water and wooded terrain keep it colder along the trail. The ground was covered in "ice castles" in places where the ground had frozen and pushed the dirt up. These "castles" crunch down under your foot making for some dicey footing.
Ice Castles
My first leg was a little slow due to finding my rhythm and taking some pictures. By the next leg I ditched the camera and got down to business. I ended up having negative splits for each leg. But then I have to remind myself that this is a long, SLOW, run; I'm not going for a PR!
Yuba meets some friends on the trail
but no one is willing to get wet
It turned out to be a beautiful day. Our cold snap has passed but as the day warmed up, those aforementioned "ice castles" melted making for some muddy footing. The mud would collect on my shoes making them feel 10 pounds heavier.
A nice view overlooking Nevada City
A couple of places the trail crosses large gullies where the water travels through pipes and there's a metal walkway that you use to cross. Yuba doesn't like walking on the metal so he takes the long way thru the gully but he doesn't seem to mind.
Yuba taking the long way
I found a great rhythm and just cruised along. My time was about 7 minutes slower then the last time I did this exact same route. It's hard for me to repeat routes because I always want to better my time even tho I'm not in the same phase of my training. Right now I SHOULD be slower, I'm rebuilding my base.
Small bridge
There are a few houses along the trail and some owners have created these small bridges to access the trail. There was also a new bench installed that I hadn't seen before. It's nice to see the trail being used and loved, there's always the risk that these trails will be closed because some property owners don't like strangers walking near their "back yard".

Before I knew it, the run was done and it was time to grab some food, a shower, pick up the girls and call it a day. A great day.

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