May 24, 2012

Running at Red Mountain Park

For the most part, this weekend taught me that taking pictures on trail runs is impossible.

Here are some that you won't want to miss. If you like impressionism, these are your bag.

My brother took those, but mine are even worse. I couldn't even get it right when my subject and I were both standing completely still. 

Sorry, bro, but those zip lines behind you look pretty coolish.

But back to the beginning, I decided to wear a hat because of the tick situation when running under trees. Ticks with their diseases and fever-nesses freak me out. Good decision: represent Oak Barrel. Bad decision: wear a white hat to Red Mountain. So when they call it Red Mountain, that also means if you fall you get pasted in red dirt. Just something to think about so that you completely avoid wearing anything white to Red Mountain. 

The park didn't officially open until 7 a.m. There's a very jumpable gate at the entrance to the trail. Not saying anyone should do or did that. Guess what else they have? Toilets! Portable ones, but in case you drive up and realize that you've got to take care of biz before trying to run 10 miles, don't drive 15 minutes back to the sketchy Shell station. This may or may not be speaking from experience.

At a stand near the toilets, there are also paper maps available for $1 donation. We took this picture to help us navigate. Combined with the great signage they have up now, we had no problem navigating the trails.

We pretty much stuck to the trails at the perimeter of the park and added an out-and-back to Grace's Gap Overlook, putting us at about 7.5 miles for our run. The inner trails in the park are definitely the most technically challenging terrain but also the most interesting! These outer trails are pretty wide and flat, but there is still an occasional root to report for lazy-foot-nemesis duty. He looks pretty innocent. My bloody knee wasn't fooled. 

Even though falling is one of the hazards of trail running, it's also sort of my favorite part. I like having bruises and scars to prove that I did something. It's just another way that soccer has tainted my outlook on life. Every time the hand sanitizer stings the cuts in my hands, I remember the awesome run I had with my big brother. 

And I remember the time I stood by these old mines. I'm pretty sure my right arm was poised to start square dancing, my other hobby.

The first overlook we came to. The green just goes on and on, except for the hiccup of that factory right there.

Do you have kudzu in your state? It's taking over this part of the trail. It kind of reminds me of what happens with laundry in our house. You swear you totally took care of that yesterday, and when you turn around you get trapped in a massive mound of the stuff. Small children would definitely not make their way out if they made their way in.

There's the Magic City rising from the green. If you're thinking of heading to this park, it's cool to read the history of the mines and how they pretty much put Birmingham on the map. 

Have you been trail running lately? 

Falling while running? Crappy or funny?