On the morning of March 6th, I headed out to meet with fellow barefoot runners from the SF Area Chapter of the Barefoot Runners Society at the Consumnes River Preserve for a group run. The no-show rain that had been forecast earlier in the week finally made its appearance. During the 20-minute drive out to the preserve there was a steady rain. Upon arriving at the preserve, I noted only one vehicle and it was parked on the roadside not in the visitor parking area. As I pulled up I noticed why - the gate was still locked. I hopped out of my truck and walked over to the other car. It turned out to be Running Romeo.
Since we were both a little early for the run, we decided to take shelter and chat to get to know one another - not to mention, the rain was still a steady drizzle. We chatted about our paths toward barefoot running and stories about barefoot races we had run. After talking awhile, we noticed the rain had let up. We decided to leave our cars parked alongside the road and head over to the trail.
A short hike across the locked parking lot and a bridge and the trail began. The trail started out very slick. The dirt here was likely hard pack. The surface was glistening wet and slick as ice. We managed to get moving down the trail with one or both of us slipping and sliding at any given moment trying not to eat the trail. The prediction - at least one of us would kiss the ground before the run was over.
As we headed down the trail, things got better - the mud got deeper! The trail was fantastically barefoot friendly. Even if there had been no mud the trail would have been all dirt and grass. There were virtually no rocks to speak of the entire run.
The preserve trails were undergoing some maintenance due to flooding and other maintenance repairs, so the plans for a 4-mile, figure-8 loop run that I had envisioned were shot. However, the mud was so AWESOME that it really didn't matter where we were running! We ran south about a mile to a gate across the trail, backtracked our way to a levee path, then east toward the railroad tracks and then south again. Another closed trail. No worries. Why? We had to backtrack through a fantastically flooded mud "pond" - EVEN BETTER! We continued north to the wheelchair accessible paved path and ran that out and back. Back to the mud! We reached the levee path again, we had put on about 3 miles or so and we decided it would be about time to head back - then it happened. Someone kissed the mud! (The identity of the mud kissing runner shall remain nameless to protect the innocent.) ;)
No problem, up and running again all the way back to the bridge. We rinsed our feet in various puddles as we trekked our way across the parking lot. Just as we reached our cars, two other cars arrived to unlock the gate! Oh well!
Thanks, Running Romeo for a great run! Hope to catch you again soon on the road or trail!