Marbles and mud puddles

I once read somewhere that when you’re buying a house, you should bring a few marbles to the inspection.

Then as you walk from room to room, you place a marble in the middle of the floor. If the marble rolls more than a few inches, you know the floor is not level and the house might have problems with the foundation settling.

Well, I didn’t need any marbles this morning to figure out where the lowest parts of the trails were at Fort Ben. All I had to do was look for the deepest puddles, goopiest mud and gnarliest gullies.

I ran the trails for about an hour. During that time, I probably picked up two pounds of mud on each shoe. That was a bit surprising, since it hasn’t rained in at least five days. These trails just like to keep their moisture, I guess.

Believe me, I’m not complaining. After two days of pounding pavement, it was great to be back in the woods, running on dirt. And overall, it really wasn’t that bad. None of the trails were impassable. The puddles were fairly small. The shoe-sucking bogs were few and far between.

But some of the long downhill stretches of trail were more damaged than I expected by the weeks of rain this spring. Some of them had deep ugly trenches.

I ran about six miles in 54 minutes. Then I threw my muddy shoes in the back of my Jeep and headed home.

Two other things:

1) I finally settled on a team for Saturday’s 50-mile trail relay. I had gotten requests from eight team captains on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, asking if I was still available. I talked to several of them, and they all seemed experienced and ready to have fun. So I just went with my gut and picked the team that seemed the most organized. The four other runners on the team are in the late teens and early 20s. At 49, I’m a just few years older. They’ll probably call me Pops. Or Gramps.

2) I watched Son No. 2 play Little League last night. This is his first season, and he’s still learning some of the basics of hitting and fielding. But after five years of playing soccer, he’s aggressive and fast. And so his best skill in last night’s game was base-running. He stole bases and executed slides like no one’s business. When he learns the rest, he’ll be unstoppable.

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