One of the best things about trail running is the places it takes you. This past weekend I traveled down to South Carolina to visit my dad. I’ve been down there several times but never knew there were some great trails to run on. For years I ran the same boring loop around the neighborhood or asphalt loop by the nearby lake. I never even thought to look up trails for trail running because I didn’t know there were any forests or parks around.
Just outside the city of Columbia sits Harbison State Forest. It is mostly known for its mountain biking trails with its man-made rock and wood bridges. But these same trails are also great for trail running.
Harbison State Harbison State Forest covers approximately 2000 acres of wooded pine forest with winding trails which intersect at multiple locations providing the trail runner with different options for shorter and longer runs. The trails are covered with a layer of soft pine straw which offers a welcome reprieve from the knee jarring asphalt I’ve been training on all week. The trail is mostly smooth and well maintained. Tree roots litter the trail and I swear reach up and grab your foot sometimes! lucky for me my rubber ankles saved me numerous times after stepping on a rogue root or rock. I would say the trail is of moderate difficulty with many gentle climbs amenable to running. They also have bathroom facilities and water spickets with hoses to wash off a muddy mountain bike or rinse yourself off to cool you down (which I definitely took advantage of twice)!
I chose to run Harbison loop trail a few times this weekend which is about an eight to nine mile loop of multiple trails. This weekend was hot and humid. 90 + degrees and 50% humidity definitely takes its toll on the body mile after mile. The soaring temperatures and high humidity provided great training for my upcoming 50 mile race, however I’m beginning to feel anxious as the race gets closer and closer. I feel under-trained in the distance and the heat.
Does anyone have any tips for me to combat the heat? What about the mental aspect of running 50 miles, any advice on how to keep going? Any and all advice is more than welcomed as I still consider myself a big rookie.
I can’t wait to explore more new trails in South Carolina the next time I visit. Trail running has taking me two more new places in the last 2 months then I rode running has in the last 2 years. And I’m loving every bit of it.