Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Running on Railroad Tracks...and Ultrarunning

Image credit here
These aren't "my" railroad tracks, but they sure look a lot like them.

Let’s get the admin stuff out of the way first:  railroad tracks are private property and you could run afoul of trespassing laws by running there.  So do it at your own risk.

That said, sometimes a RR track run is both convenient and fun.  That is, once you develop some sort of rhythm and stride to deal with the usually-awkward spacing of the ties.

On Sunday I took a walk with the bride for 3 miles, then peeled off to add another 6 running miles.  I ran my beloved Harshman Road north up to Marion, then elected to use the CSX tracks to reverse my route back to the south.  These are the tracks I can see out across the fields from my front porch.

Sure, you need to pay attention to your footing, but the main draw is that you are running off-road, typically a shady, wooded corridor, and it’s rather pleasant.

Nature notes: passed by 3 road kills between the tracks—looked like 2 skunks and a dog.  How stupid would an animal have to be to get run over by a train?  This brought to mind the first time I ever saw an armadillo up close.  I was running some railroad tracks east of Texarkana, AR (business trip) and desperately needed to get off the highway where thundering lumber trucks threatened my very existence.  So I hopped over to the parallel RR tracks, where I saw the dead armadillo.  A pretty cool creature, all in all, and I was sad to see it dead.

The link to Ultrarunning?  There is no way that a normal human being could run any sort of ultra distances on RR tracks.  It's just too hard, with the stone ballast between the ties and the uneven spacing of the ties.  Unless you are superhuman.


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