The Leighton Hill Lollipop is becoming my favorite route to run from home these days, tonight was my third time running it in 8 days. I've finally refined it to 1.7 miles of road at the beginning and end with a 4.3 mile trail loop in the middle.
It was still unseasonably warm this evening which made for very comfortable running, and despite the rain we had earlier in the week the trails were in very runnable shape. I knew there was going to be ice on the trails, but the roads were dry so I set off from home wearing road shoes and carrying my screwed trail shoes in a backpack. This was my first time running with Ice Spikes in my shoes instead of sheet metal screws, I must say that I was very impressed. I'll give a full review once I've had a chance to get a few more miles on them, but for the 4.3 miles I ran in them tonight they provided incredible grip on hard ice on steep hills.
Despite postholing a dozen times or more, and having frozen ledges of ice breakaway beneath me I still managed to move along at a pretty good pace. The downhills were very fast, at least for icy night time running, and I was able to run the flats at a consistently quick pace between the convulsive interruptions of postholing. As long as it stays cold enough this loop should remain runnable until we get another decent snowfall and more snowmobile traffic on top of that.
As nice as it is to be able to run with a little exposed skin this time of year and not have to worry about frost bite this springlike weather is a terrible tease, because we're still only in the first half of winter and surely there will be a lot more snow to come.
distance: 7.71 miles
weather: upper 30's, cloudy
conditions: dry road, packed snowmobile trails, ice, dirt, puddles, mud
gear: Saucony Grid Sinister, Inov-8 Roclite 295 with Ice Spikes, Smart Wool socks, short tights, t-shirt, long sleeve shirt, buff, gloves, Camelbak (for carrying shoes)