Friday, October 23, 2015

Stepping On "Not Leaves"

I seem to have gotten ahead of myself in thinking of the winter months' impact on running and neglected, as I was reminded today during my run, the reality of how fall creates unique diversity in how we conquer the roads.  Amidst the familiar smell of cross country season (yes, a sport can have a smell) on the cool air and the beautiful coloration of the leaves on the trees, other challenges lurk that can often be forgotten when running.  Like my winter post, here are few reminds when enjoying your fall runs.

Leaves Are Shady Characters
See what I did there?  While leaves are great in the summer for keeping us out of the blinding sun and look impressive in the fall when the hues shift, they can also be deceptive once they begin to lay on the ground.  This stark truth set in several times during my earlier run.  In running on roads with lots of curves and little berm, I often attempt to extricate myself from the pavement by keeping to the point where grass and concrete meet.  The challenge leaves add to this method of safety is that they can cloak what is actually beneath them.  Within the first half mile of my run, my foot landed on what I thought was grass covered by leaves, but instead turned out to be swampy mud.  Thank God for my water-wicking socks!  While I was able to get myself back in rhythm within a few steps, it could have turned out much worse.  And in seeming to not learn my lesson the first time (I'm a slow learner at times), I repeated the misjudgment and found my foot sliding into a divot between a small hillside and the road.  With twisted ankles and face-plants narrowly avoided, I'm going to be much more careful on where my feet hit the ground.

The Ents Are Going To War!
Or at least I swear the tree branches are attempting to take me out.  With less leaves and everything turning a dreary brown, low-hanging twigs and leaning foliage become much harder to see.  The scratches on my legs serve as proof.  Until the weeds die and the branches break off, these things will continue to serve as annoyances that give leave some pretty nasty scrapes and cuts.

Temperature Like the Stock Market
Where winter is pretty predictable in that it usually stays cold, fall has the opportunity to change on a whim.  While the sun may be shining, the breeze can offer a nasty bite that will cut right through thin clothing.  As a result, while it may be hard to accept, summer attire may need to find itself retired and replaced with items that can be adjusted in case the temperature drops or climbs.  This fact especially holds true on long runs, when anything can and, on occasion, will happen.

Enjoy your various pumpkin-scented/flavored/textured everything and happy running!

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