Tuesday, December 3, 2013

We Were on a Break

Maybe it was that hurried, lunchtime run at Falls Lake, the one that lasted over an hour-fifteen and probably required more effort than was wise to expend on the day following a track workout. Or, did I over do it in a certain pair of shoes two days ago when I ran three miles more than planned? Or, was it just a combination of things?

I'd run less than a mile of my typical, weekday-morning short route, and I was already in the bargaining stage of coping with the realization that I had an injury. Stages one and two (depression and anger) came three minutes earlier and all at once when I summited the hill just east of my street.

A nagging stiffness quickly became a persistent, burning "discomfort" in my upper, left calf within that first tenth of a mile. And, the emphatic "Shit!" that I uttered with a crispness to match the March morning air pretty much summed up what I thought about that.

I reasoned that I should continue with the four-mile run, anyway, just to be sure that what I felt was as much of an injury worth respecting as I thought it was. It was.

It was the gastrocnemius. No, it was the soleus. It was a strain. Or, was it torn? Maybe it was that tendon behind those muscles that didn't have a name in the diagrams. It was whatever I read most about the affected area on Google that day.

But, it didn't matter what it was. It hurt when I ran (even after five days of rest). And, I'd known it was coming for at least a week. And, I just ignored it. And, now, running and I; we had to take a break.

I wallowed in the uncertainty each morning when, under normal circumstances, I'd have been running. The blue morning light was crushing. And, the running shoes strewn about the floor on my side of the bed looked out of place and sad.

My poor wife. If I am ever at my least pleasant, it is when I am sick or unable to run. She tolerated my grumpiness and short responses to her well-meaning questions with the saintly patience for which I know her.

"You didn't run this morning?" She'd ask. "Something's wrong with my calf." I'd mutter. "What can you do about that?" She pressed sympathetically. "Rest, I guess."

I wouldn't have continued the conversation either.

Don't think I didn't try to run, though. I'd spend an awkward morning testing the waters with running every three or four days. But, that sore calf muscle/tendon thing was always there, too. Eventually, running and I just had to face the fact that there was nothing for us at the moment.

Nearly two weeks of moping, stretching, and bitching about not running on Facebook finally drove me to desperation. "I'm going to ride my bike today," I said to my wife. "Good!" She exclaimed. The relief in her voice was palpable.

Personally, I've considered biking something that runners only do when they can't run. So, you wouldn't be surprised to know that I had little in the way of sensible biking apparel. I simply put on my longest running shorts, a t-shirt, and a pair of Skoras (I'd once seen a picture of a dude wearing a pair of Skoras on a bike. So, I figured it made sense).

My blue hybrid Haro was behind some stuff in the garage. And, my helmet's padding was crumbling away a bit. But, a little oil on the chain and some air in the tires had me feeling confident. So, I rode down the street.

It was April now, and somewhat muggy. And, it felt good to sweat again. I enjoyed pushing hard on the hills, feeling my upper leg muscles do what they'd been wanting to do for so long.

The Crabtree Creek greenway was busy that Saturday. I nodded enviously at passing runners. I wanted to shout that I was one of them. This bike, this helmet, this isn't me! Of course, the other cyclists whizzed by me, perhaps wondering why I was riding in an inefficient gear. Whatever.

Twelve miles passed, and I found myself at home again. I felt good, exercised, temporarily high on endorphins. But, the appeal of cycling's mechanical aspects remained elusive to me. It just didn't mean anything. So, I didn't ride again.

I resolved to rest a few more days. Maybe the calf would be better in a couple more days.

Two-and-a-half-test miles on the trail: nope!

I was frustrated enough to seek a professional someone about this calf affliction. But, given my fear of being told explicitly that I had to rest for some ridiculous amount of time by a conservative-minded doctor, I wanted to explore other options besides the obvious.

I'd read several enthusiastic recommendations for the graston technique. You've heard about it, right? It's a relatively new treatment designed for any soft tissue injury. There is tons of stuff about it on the internet (of course), and based on other people's experiences, it seemed like a viable option for me.

So, after much hemming and hawing, I finally made an appointment with a nearby certified graston provider. And, long story short, the graston worked! The technique is not what I thought it was before going into my first appointment. But, suffice it to say that I am an advocate!

After so many weeks of not really running, just being told that it was okay to run three miles made me as hopeful as you get when finding a new trail. I had to start low and slow, of course; because I was basically returning from an injury. But, running and I; we were together again!

It all seems so long ago, that mid-spring running break. I don't like to think about the things I did or the thoughts I had while running wasn't actively involved in my life at that time. We were on a break. The bike, as I said already; it meant nothing. But, I'm a more mature now. And, of course, a runner doesn't really appreciate running until he can't do it for an extended period of time.

Really, I just wish I'd tried a graston appointment sooner than I did.

Oh, "What's graston feel like?" you ask. Well, I'll have to find the words for that and put them in another post. Stay tuned...

And, thanks for reading!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Just a Few Trail Photos, Really

Falls Lake MST: Section 6

As writers ["writers"] sometimes do, I am finding myself frustrated by flocks of article ideas flittering around in my head searching for their words. I sit down and try to force myself to type something informative and insightful for you fine folks. But, the sentences just suck. And, I'm not going to waste your time with sucky stuff! You deserve better!

But, I'm pretty sure we are all tired of seeing the post about my unfortunate foot blemish on the home page of this site. So, let's just kick that into the archives with this little pictorial piece. There are thousands of words in pictures, right?

Umstead: Loblolly Trail

I've been really enjoying the Fall mornings lately, especially at Umstead and Falls Lake. They're brisk and colorful. And, I feel grateful to be running out there every single time.

Every time.

Falls Lake MST: Section 7

You can see that the trails are pretty much completely covered in leaves now, which adds another degree of technicality to the trails around here. I like it. But, you gotta be careful. 'Cause rocks and roots.

Falls Lake MST: Section 6

Most weekday mornings have me running on the roads. And, I enjoy that, too, of course; especially since the mornings have some level of light to them for the time being.

Umstead: Loblolly Trail

The transition from darkness to just before the sun rises fills the sky with so many variations of pastel orange, purple, and blue. And, if I happen to be on the greenway at this time, the orange and red tree leaves somehow mix with those colors from the rising sun. And, I feel like I'm running through a whole other world—as if some of the landscapes that people publish through the filters via their phones actually exist that way.

Falls Lake MST: Section 6

I don't have a picture of the greenway at sunrise right now, though. Sorry. My camera wouldn't replicate the colors properly anyway.

Sometimes you just have to be there to be the lucky one.

Umstead: Loblolly Trail

Speaking of good fortune, I am one of the happy runners to be registered for the Uwharrie 20 Miler in 2014. I've been excited to run this race for the past three years. And, finally seeing my name on the registration list has me giddy!

Falls Lake MST: Section 7

I am not yet sure what sort of goal I should set for myself as an Uwharrie first timer. (That's one of those posts in the works) My current training plan is to just run as many miles as I have time to run each day. But, I swear I'm going to come up with a strategy of some kind.

I'm open to tips and suggestions from any Uwharrie veterans, of course.

Falls Lake MST: Section 6
Here's a little video that resonates well with my sentiments in this post and takes what I've shared a bit further, I think. You may have already seen this, since it's quite popular.

Thanks so much for reading!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Hazards of Barefootery: The Plantar Wart!

Being barefoot is fun. Either you already agree with that or haven't tried it since you were nine years old. Like anything fun, you will tend to do that fun thing whenever the opportunity arises. And, in the case of strolling around without shoes, you might, for an instant, lose sight of when that opportunity for fun goes against common sense.

not walk barefoot in the locker room

For instance, most of you would agree that venturing into a thoroughly public locker room at a popular water park would necessitate some sort of footwear. But, for the sake of this parable, our hero shuns his shoe sense, because he just can't be bothered to put on his damn flip flops.

[Note themes of pride, arrogance, and stupidity].

It turns out that traipsing around a well-used locker room without shoes is pretty much the best way to acquire the virus that causes a plantar wart (not to be confused with "plantar's wart", which is not a thing) Try it sometime if you don't believe me. (I'm kidding)

You can read about plantar warts all you like on the usual websites. Basically, they're indirectly transmitted from person to person via a virus. And, plantar warts have the unique characteristic of being pushed into and under the skin as they form, because pressure from walking or running just does that.

Then, once the wart makes a nice, cozy home under the surface of your outermost skin layers, it starts to hurt whenever you put pressure on it. The wart also dispels any previous thoughts that the odd bump in your foot was just new callused skin when it suddenly displays some crackly white lacerations in a small circle on your skin.

I'll stop describing how warts appear now. Google that stuff if you're feeling brave.

Umstead trail
Here's a trail photo to clear your mind of the mental image my wart description just created.

I'm telling you this, because we runners are especially susceptible to the afflictions of an otherwise inconsequential, albeit gross, blemish. This guy knows what I'm talkin' about.

See, a plantar wart can take weeks or months to make itself known to you. And, as it grows, it tends to feel like you just have a strange bit of callus added to your foot. This sensation doesn't seem to progress. So, you (I mean me) ignore it until one day it becomes a stabbing pain in the bottom of your (my) foot. And, holy crap, that's not good!

Not Really an Injury

As we runners know, any perceived pain in our running parts immediately relays a message to the paranoia-inducing injury-o-meter in our brains, the first indicator of which is absolute denial. But, soon after denial, we start to really wonder if that pain is indeed a running injury. And, then, well, you know how the uncertainty of injury goes.

I was actually relieved when I realized that the pain in my foot was just a plantar wart, because it wasn't running-related at all! Ha!

But, just because running isn't the origin of the pain doesn't mean that the act of running is impervious to the hurt. That painful pebble of nasty under the callused ball of my foot seemed to grow with ever step I took. And, my penchant for scantily cushioned shoes didn't help. I took a day or two off to assess the situation.

Steps to Plantar Wart Situation Assessment

  1. I needed to figure out how to get rid of this plantar wart. That was easy to determine, because there are a handful of remedies discussed on the internet that people recommend. Pretty much all of the solutions to the plantar wart problem require patience. So, I chose the traditional, over-the-counter wart-patch method. (It seems to be working well)
    f-lite 195
    cushy enough for a plantar wart
  2. Then, I had to find a way to run with this painful wart. Bam! I dug out the softest shoes I have in my closet. Remarkably, the Inov-8 f-lite 195s proved cushy enough for my predicament. So, hurray! I've been running as much as I want again!

That's it, just two steps! How many pseudo-injuries do you know of that can be dealt with in just two steps? So, it's nothing to worry about. I've just gotta get over the mental anguish (and embarrassment) of having this nasty, disgusting growth in the ball of my foot.

Aside from dealing with this little virus now, I'll stay far away from public locker rooms when I'm not wearing shoes. Lesson learned!


'Course, now I'm curious how many genuine barefoot runners suffer this affliction on a regular basis. I mean, is it possible that the plantar wart was able to develop on my foot, because I wore shoes before washing off the virus germs?

But, a barefoot runner would delay putting on shoes for quite some time after contact with the virus, thereby exposing the virus to all the hazards of life outside the warm nastiness of the locker room. Would this kill the virus before it had a chance to infect the seasoned barefooter?

If you know, feel free to say so in the comments.

And, as always...

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Skora Phase Review: See Me Now?

Skora Phase top view

I'm sorry. I've been so busy running in the Skora Phase that I nearly forgot to write a review for you! But, an extended experiential running period is good, because, with slightly less than 200 miles of wear, the Phase is proving to be a highly durable and reliable shoe.

And, lemme tell ya, this shoe is awesome! (Too much already?)

The passionate runners at Skora introduced the Phase along with it's leather-ized comrade, the Core, back in the spring of this year. And, after running quite a few miles in the Base, I was eager to try the Phase; especially since the new RO2 last promised a wider toe box than that of the Base and Form.

Skora recently created a fantastic shoe comparison chart that indicates the feature similarities and differences of each shoe model. So, you may want to reference that as I describe the design elements of the Phase that stand out most.

An Inspired Box

Skora Phase in the boxAs, I removed the conspicuously functional shoe box from the shipping box, I noted that the Oregon shoe company persists with its affinity for contemporary design. It's almost a misnomer to say that the Skora shoes arrive in a box. It's more of a container, really, something you don't want to throw away, something you'd purchase all by itself from IKEA:

"oh, look, honey, look at this container!"
"What's it for?"
"It's for...stuff!"
"Look at the magnetic closure feature!"
"Fine, whatever. It's only two dollars."
"Ugh! Next time we shop here, you can just stay home!"
"Good! Fine! I told you I didn't care which end tables you wanted!"
"That's just it! You don't care! I'm showing you this beautiful box for stuff. And, you don't even care!"
Skora Phase

Ooh and Ahhh

Having just tossed my pair of Bases into the closet before opening the aforementioned "box", the Phase immediately impressed me with it's lighter level of heft and streamlined profile. At a modest 7.2 ounces (in a US men's size 9), the Phase is certainly not the lightest shoe out there. But, it's light enough, in my opinion — minimal while not entirely eschewing its shoeness.

Moving along with the first impressions, I was at least ten shades of happy when I tested the Phase's flexibility. This is a flexible shoe, my friends! And, as you know, flexibility is one of my favorite features in a running shoe. I don't know why, exactly, I just like being able to control the shoe with my foot rather than the other way around.

Skora Phase
Behold the flexibility!

Skora attains this flexibility in the Phase by continuing with the zero-drop platform and removing the midsole. That's right, you've got a single-piece outsole, some comfy fabric stuff, and an optional 3mm insole separating your feet from the ground.

Using the RO1 last as a starting point, the designers, perhaps, shaved a millimeter off the outsole and insole when creating the Phase (and Core). This gives us a stack height of 11mm with the insole and 8mm without. And, surprisingly, I really feel the difference in proprioception.

Additionally, the single-piece outsole, comprised of Injection Blown Rubber (IBR), is slightly less dense than the rubber outsole on the highly durable Base and Form. So, while this new outsole substance increases overall shoe flexibility and decreases weight, you probably will not get over 1,000 miles out of a pair of Phases. (I could be wrong about that, though!)

Basically, I am so impressed by the Phase's flexibility and midsole-free design, I rank it with the Merrell Vapor Glove or Inov-8 Bare-X 180 in terms of running as unencumbered as possible. That's good!

Skora Phase
The Skora Phase with the insole in (left) and insole out (right).

Consider the Ground

Skora's consideration for ground feel didn't stop when the midsole was omitted. The insole is something quite special. I haven't researched the material used, but, something about the removable insole affords it a density that feels like a much thicker barrier than it actually is. So, when the insole is in place, you feel as if you have a totally different, albeit quite minimal, shoe. The Phase is like two shoes in one!

But, no, this is not a cushy shoe, by any means. So, by "two shoes in one", I don't meant that it's your long-run, tired-legs, weakened-form shoe and barefootesque shoe rolled into one. I am simply saying that the Phase without the insole is rather close to being barefoot, while adding the insole makes the shoe more like a firm racing flat.

Either way, this is a shoe for runners who enjoy and respect the ground beneath their feet. The ground is not the enemy. (Spider webs are the enemy! F'ing spiderwebs! Gah!)

Skora Phase

The outsole further intrigues us with it's rounded heel and slightly concave form under the forefoot. The arch has a nice curvature to it, too, which emphasizes the shoe's flexibility. Clearly, this modeling is meant to mimic an actual human foot rather than provide a platform for it. And, it works quite well for me.

Without going so far as to quote myself, I'll mention that I wrote in my Base review that I would be curious to see what that shoe's outsole would look like with some of the heel area shaved away. Well, this is it. The Phase designers dramatically improved that rounded-heel concept this time.

Skora Phase

I mean, the heel works very well as it is in the Base and Form for a lot of people. But, I just wanted less of it. And, I say that it works better for me in the Phase, because there's so much more proprioception to go along with it. Thus, I have enough of a sense of the ground to enhance the rounded heel's function instead of wonder what's going on down there.

Some people have, understandably, been dismayed by the button-like logo thing on the bottom of the heel. It was more pronounced in the Base than it is in the Phase. So, I've not been bothered by at it all with this pair of Skoras. And, I'll maintain that the button is undetectable when running unless you happen to be putting a lot of pressure on your heels. Is this an intentional form-correcting feature? I don't know for sure.

As you inspect that photo of the Phase's outsole, you probably notice that there are a fair amount of grip-enhancing nubs and crevices (for a road shoe). This design makes the Phase a very good option for smooth or rough surfaces. Although the rubber is not a sticky sort, the shoes provide great grip, especially while climbing the hilly roads on my running route.

And, sure, you could wear them most anywhere. But, the thin sole will have you feeling every rock and root on a technical trail. So, you'll want to use your best judgment when it comes to terrain. As for me, I use them on pavement and easy, hard-packed trails.

Symmetry and Function

From above, the Skora Phase is striking in its creative challenge to symmetry. The diagonal lacing structure complements the sans-tongue construction. And, the reflective, laminated overlays create a unique, highly visible pattern, especially when observed with both shoes side by side.

In fact, the reflective overlays and ultra vivid toe bumper make the Phase one of the most low-light friendly shoes I've ever worn. Being a predominantly early-morning runner, I find that these safety features are important.

(And, just recently, Skora released the Phase-X , which takes reflection to a whole 'nother level!)

Skora Phase

The air mesh upper breathes well. Its weave is somewhat closer together than that of other mesh-upper shoes I wear. So, it's not the coolest shoe in my arsenal. But, I ran throughout the hot, humid, North Carolina summer without issue. (And, if I think a shoe is too stifling, I'm gonna tell you!)

Fewer seams in the upper and "stitch-down construction" on the interior allegedly mean that the Phase is more than accommodating for people who prefer to run without socks. I've worn the shoes without socks but didn't run in them sockless, because I'm a baby when it comes to blisters. I will attest that the interior feels good against bare skin with or without the insole.


I definitely find that the RO2 last is better suited to my foot shape than the RO1. The toe box is well-proportioned but not sloppy. (I am told that the Skora Core has an even wider toe box than the Phase, by the way) And, the mid-foot and heel stay in place on my foot very well.

One of my personal qualms about the Base was that I had difficulty securing the shoe around my upper foot and ankle. However, I am happy to say that the Phase provides for more fit flexibility on my feet. I attribute this success to the presence of laces and a very grippy heel/ankle collar. Thus, the Phase holds fast to my upper foot and ankle while allowing my forefoot and toes to expand as necessary.

I wear the same size (US men's 11.5) Phase that I wear in the Base. I consider my normal running shoe size to be a 12. So, shoes that "fit large", like the Skora Phase or Base, work best a half size smaller on my feet.


If someone asked me about the Skora Phase in person, I'd sum up this review like this:

It's a great shoe. It's well made, fits very nicely, and provides excellent feel for the ground on two different levels. I use it as one of my go-to shoes when I don't "need" extra cushioning.

Then I'd start answering questions about "the minimal thing", and the person would probably lose interest.

But, that's the gist, folks! I like the Phase a lot. And, now is a great time to snag a pair for yourselves, because the SS13 models are on sale all over the place as Skora makes way for the new colors coming out soon. For instance, you can find your own Phases on Skora's own site or at OptimalRun.com (affiliate links are nice).

Feel free to ask questions in the comments.

Thanks for reading!

Product provided by SKORA.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Trail Review: Falls Lake Trail Section 7

Falls Lake Trail: Section 7

Six Forks Rd. to Hwy 98

Trail Location: Falls Lake State Recreation Area | Wake Forest, NC

Trail Distance:
4.6 miles (out & back)

Trail Difficulty:
Easy to Moderate

Awesome interactive map >>
See the Falls Lake Recreation Area map page >>


My first venture to Section 7 of the Falls Lake Mountains to Sea Trail was on an especially hot and sticky summer afternoon. The air hung heavily and wet from the trees while insects whined loudly from their shaded daytime hangouts.

But, I was determined to make liberal use of my lunch break that day. And, noting that the drive to Section 7 wasn't much further than the drive to sections five or six, I opted for a run on the trail I'd not yet visited.

At just over four-and-a-half miles (out and back), this trail would keep me occupied for a reasonable amount of time. But, of course, the exceptional weather conditions slowed my run even more than usual. And, then, there was the fact that I got a little lost.

But, in spite of the day's atmospheric unpleasantness, the trail proved interesting and awesome the whole time. And, so, okay, I know I previously named Section 6 of the Falls Lake Trail as one of my favorites. But, now, Section 7 is definitely one of my favorites! No, really, it's such a charmingly diverse and somewhat remote piece of the Falls Lake landscape. I love it!

Accessing the Trail

Technically, for distance purists, the start of section 7 is at the end of section 6, which you can see in the picture at the end of my Section 6 trail review. But, if you're following along from where I'm starting this little overview, you're probably going to just park at the the north end of the bridge.

The trail head is not as lavishly marked as the two entry points to the prior section. As you see in the photo, there is just a small sign and another alluding to the boat ramp access. You might pass this as you speed along Six Forks Rd. But, there's an easy turnaround point just a few meters north. So, don't curse yourself if you miss it.

Roadside parking is spacious here. But, if you prefer to be somewhat less conspicuous when you exit your vehicle, you can continue up Six Forks Rd. to the boat ramp parking lot. It might be open all the time. But, I'm not positive.


Enter this easy portion of the trail and prepare yourself for the beauty of Falls Lake. Inhale the aroma of trampled pine needles. Observe the chiaroscuro on the path before you as sunlight combats the shade.

And, of course, there are those phantom spider webs, most of which remain invisible until you stumble directly through them. If it's been a quiet day on the trail, you may as well just go ahead and get used to the spider webs. They're everywhere unless you're following someone else. The webs won't kill you, though. And, the spiders don't get big until late summer.

Also, this year, there are plenty of ticks. And, sometimes the horse flies are extremely obnoxious. But, yay, trail running!

Now, notice that there's a fairly conspicuous opening just beyond the trees. This is the parking lot for the boat ramp access. Run directly across it. You'll see where the trail continues as you get closer to the other side.

Section 7 descends into loveliness with a handful of make-shift bridges and slightly slippery steps. Smatterings of new-growth pines escort you from the shade of the larger trees into giant utility easement number one.

Falls Lake Trail Section 7

This easement boasts a jeep trail that leads down to the lake. So, you'll want to look ahead to the narrow trail that you're following — unless, of course, you want to take that jeep trail to the lake just to see what you see. Proceed cautiously through the high weeds in this sunny space, because they create perfect hiding places for snakes. And, I do not recommend surprising a hiding snake.

Out of the grass and into the woods again for some gently rolling single-track. The terrain consists of a relatively even distribution of technical surface and hard-packed trail. If you are used to running on trails in this area, you'll not find many surprises here.

The hills are small and occur more frequently as you progress, with one descent leading you directly into this rather cumbersome bridge. Hold your arms at shoulder level to avoid splinters.

A quaint creek crossing will give you the opportunity to soak your feet if you feel especially toasty. Otherwise, you can easily bound across and continue following the white trail blazes. Check for frogs or crayfish if you have the time.

You will find yourself blasting down a proper hill and rounding a bend in the trail to traverse a uniquely flat, clean portion of the path. A creek, perhaps dry, will be on your right. And, the landscape will appear quite different, as if you'd just entered an entirely new forest.

Focus on the trail, though! Watch for that trail marker with the white blaze that you see pictured here. Do not follow the trail on its left. Turn right and cross the creek at this trail marker. Right!

I was surprised by how easily I missed this turn and ended up wandering around for at least ten minutes while I tried to find the trail again. If you follow the trail to the left of the trail marker, you end up taking a spur that leads to one of the neighborhoods bordering Falls Lake. Not where you want to be unless you need first aid, I guess.

Anyway, you've turned right to cross the creek and happily continue your run through more easy single track with some splendid views of the lake.

Another utility easement puts you into sunlight and weedy space (eyes on the ground, runner!). Depending on the time of day, this is an opportune spot to spy a deer or two.

You'll notice a split in the trail at the top of a hill marked by a large, splintered tree stump. Veer to the left away from the lake to continue following the trail. The alternate path leads you directly to the water's edge, which is not a bad spot to chill for a moment if you have the time.

As you proceed down another marvelous hill, you'll run high above a watery inlet with the sounds of things plopping into the water below you. If you're lucky, you may see a Great Blue Heron wading stealthily in the still water.

The best utility easement of your journey opens in front of you now. And, the trail winds up a small hill before taking you down a steep descent. Look ahead toward the bottom of the hill and make a sharp right to follow the switchback over a small bridge and onward to the other side of that inlet.

This is approximately when you'll realize that the numerous, seemingly simple hills you've covered thus far will probably prove very challenging on the way back.

Keep moving forward. Watch out for hazardous trees, though.

The trail eventually takes you to a path that looks like an abandoned, overgrown greenway. Turn right as you step onto the pavement and enjoy the flatness of this reminder that civilization is not far.

The white trail blaze is low and to the left as you approach the dead end to this paved trail interlude. Turn left onto the single track and brush past the weeds that grab at your shins.

And, continue...

Run leisurely over the roots and rocks that punctuate the rolling terrain. Listen as the speeding car noises mix with the bird calls. You'll find this enormous tree standing tall beside the trail. And, it's just beyond this point that you'll descend to Highway 98.

Turn around and enjoy the run back. Or, if you're feeling adventurous, proceed cautiously across the highway and continue running on Section 8. (Turn right when you cross the highway to find the Section 8 trail head)


  • You can access the south end of Section 7 from Six Forks Rd. or the north end on Hwy. 98. See this map for visual details.
  • The trail measures 2.3 miles (one way) if you start at the Section 6 trail head on the south side of the Six Forks Rd. bridge and end at Hwy. 98. If you start at the north side of the bridge where parking for Section 7 access is easiest, the trail measure more like 1.8 miles one way.
  • Remember to turn right when you see that white trail marker beside the creek.
  • Be mindful of the fauna, especially snakes crossing the path as you run through the treeless utility easements.
  • The paved bit of path is very short. It will only seem longish because you're constantly checking the left side for the directional blaze.
  • Running Section 6 and 7 together would make for a very nice 10- or 11-mile trail run

More trail reviews, ramblings, and photos >>

Thanks for reading!


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