Friday, March 16, 2012

First Trail Run in Northern Florida: Lessons Learned

Okay, I know I lived in Florida just two short years ago, and you would think I would remember at least some of the important things I knew about running there, but here are some of the lessons I learned (or relearned) about trail running in Northern Florida on my run today.

1. Heat acclimation is a good thing; heat acclimation at midday, not so much.  On the bright side of this one, I should be more ready for whatever DWD Green Swamp has to offer. Note to self, out tomorrow morning at 8 am.

2. Trailheads may or may not be in the same place they were two years ago. Just because you ran a trail once a few years ago does not mean that you will be able to find it again.

3. When a local says, "you can't miss it," that is Floridian for "you couldn't find it with a GPS, map, compass, and an Indian guide."   This is especially true when the little detail that gets left out of the directions is that the entrance to the trail is now in the bushes ten yards to the left of the gate with the shiny new lock on it.

4. While hidden bottles are good, carrying a hand bottle is better. This is especially true when passing back by the hidden bottle depends heavily on finding the aforementioned trail head using directions given by the local Floridian.

5. When you are lost and looking for a trail, be sure to read the front side of that sign you just ran behind. This is especially important if you find out later that the sign said "Caution: Archery Range: No Trespassing." 

6. When you pop out of the woods for a second and realize that you are indeed trespassing on some type of hunting range, check to be sure you are not standing on a fire ant hill while attempting to decide what to do next.  Always handy advice whenever in sandy ground in Florida.

7. Not all local plants are friendly. They may look pretty, but some have wicked thorns.

If it sounds like I had a bad day on the trails, it is absolutely not true. One of the things I love about trail running is that I never know what is going to happen. 

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