Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Croom Trail in the Withlacoochee Forest for my Birthday!

Saturday was my birthday.  John got me a cute little Sanyo video camera; I have been wanting something that's small and lightweight and easy to operate, to be able to spontaneously shoot some video of my grandson.

Also, for my birthday, John said we could do anything I wanted...  and mentioned going up to the Croom Trail.

Well, Croom is one of my most favorite places.  It is one of several tracts in the Withlacoochee Forest up in the middle of Florida, west of Orlando, northeast of Tampa (closer to Tampa).  I ran my first 50-miler there and many 50k's (see archives:  http://www.run2joy.com/search/label/Croom%20Trail).  But since my running has been so messed up, we haven't made the trip up there for years.

Drove up Friday afternoon and arrived at the beginning of the Withlacoochee Trail (a rails-to-trails asphalt path which people use mostly for biking) around 8 pm or so that evening, sat at a picnic table there and drank a bottle of David Bruce pinot noir while taking in our surroundings...   the moon rising, tall slash pines and big oak trees, an owl hooting in the distance, the stillness of the forest.  And lightning bugs!  South Florida does not have lightning bugs, so that was a treat!

We got a late start Saturday morning, which meant being on the trail at the hottest part of the day. (Mid-90's, full sun, 95% humidity!)  Oh, but it was glorious!  The smell of the pines, all the different bird songs and noises,  the greens of the leaves and grasses, and the blue, blue sky!

We chose the north side of the road, entering at the Tucker Hill Trailhead, to run first.  I started out before John, as he wanted to walk a while first, and ran a little more than three miles in, then turned around and ran back till I met up with John, and we walked the rest of the way back together.

I wore my huaraches both days on the trail and they were just great!  Didn't know how they would handle the soft sandy parts of the trail, but there was no problem there.  The only thing I had to be really careful of was watching for roots, and those are mostly at the entry points onto the trail.  Stubbing a toe hurts even with shoes on.

After a leisurely lunch (which we had packed beforehand and brought with us), we biked on the Withlacoochee Trail; only about an hour and a half...  John forgot his bike pants, and my back tire had a slow leak which we were too lazy to fix and so just occasionally stopped and pumped it back up.

Saturday, June 26, 2010, on the Croom Trail...  wearing my huaraches!

Sunday, we were on the trail before 9 am, the south side this time.  I ran about five miles in, took some video, walked awhile, ran another 2 1/2 miles, then walked the rest of the way in.  All in my huaraches.  I was in heaven!

If I ever get back to being able to do trail ultra racing, I just might wear my huaraches... :-)

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