Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Joys of the Trail on a Cold and Windy Morning

How easy it is to be seduced into exercising only indoors in the winter. When it's cold and dark and even the trip to the sidewalk to retrieve the morning paper is uncomfortable, who wants to venture outside? The erg machine beckons, in a warm and cozy room with TV to help pass the time.

Still, there is a certain special something to exercising outside. A chance to reconnect with the outdoors, to see what the planet is up to. I love the fact that the trail's appearance evolves with every season. This time of year this means the peculiar beauty of winter. The marshy spot by the side of the trail was frozen, with some cattails sticking up out of the ice. It was too windy for the morning mist to form on the Bluemont Park field, but the little waterfall was running strongly, the water tumbling past some snow remaining from last week’s storm. The air was cold, and it was incredibly windy. I had to keep my head down at times to keep the wind from stinging my face. However, I also had to keep my eyes on the trail, on the lookout for the occasional icy spots. Even in winter there is birdlife along the W&OD trail. A high point of this morning’s run was spotting two cardinals in a tree, their bright red plumage a stark contrast to the otherwise grey morning.

Was it as pleasant as a springtime run? No … well, maybe. Each season has its charms, and while winter is a little more uncomfortable, it’s still a pleasure to be out experiencing the variety of the seasons.