Friday, January 1, 2010

Nice Place to Run: Cedar Ridge Preserve

This morning I greeted 2010 with a bunch of new friends from the North Texas Trail Runners.  We met at Cedar Ridge Preserve, on the south side of Dallas, for a cold morning run.  This was my first time to run with a group from NTTR, and they're a great bunch of folks.  I ran with a couple of 67-year-old experienced trail runners who could probably outrun me on any given day, a woman who's run countless ultras, including the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning, which consists of four of the toughest 100 mile races in the U.S, all run in one year (in the span of about 14 weeks!).  Plus there was a guy who rides a unicycle on mountain bike trails.  Nuts!  It's great to be with people who not only share my passion, but who have run the races and met the goals I aspire to.

The preserve, a park maintained by Audubon Dallas, has about 10 miles of loop trails of varying difficulty. My favorite, the Cedar Break Trail, has some steep, rugged climbs; my running partners today said that's one of the best trails in the area for practicing technical ascents and descents.  A couple of them ended up on their rears as testament to the toughness of the trail.  Today Cedar Break had the additional virtue of not being sloppy muddy.

When we started out, it was still in the high 20s, so the first hour or so we crunched over frozen mud.  But after a couple of hours, some of the trails in the low-lying areas were just nasty.  I guess running in that muck is the only way to learn how to run better in muck!  (Is there a good way to run in muck?)  I had considered running in my VFFs, but I was glad I didn't.  The trail had some very rocky sections, which I may be been able to navigate OK, but my feet would have been wet and cold in that mud.  I was happy to have on my Gore-Tex lined NB trail shoes.

I didn't take my camera today, so I lifted these photos from some other web sites.  I hope that's OK with them!

The trails are very well-maintained, with steps, logs, rocks, etc. to control erosion.

I'll have to go back in the spring to see it this green.  Not so green today.

There are several bridges throughout the park.  There is also an observation deck where you can take in a terrific view of the area.

I'll definitely be back here for some training runs, and may bring the kids for a hike in the woods.  It's a beautiful place!

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