One of the many benefits of living in Southeast Michigan is the abundance of parks and trails. My wife and I are big fans of the local trails and parks, including the Huron-Clinton Metroparks. We’ve visited a few of the Metroparks, but had only run at one of them – Stony Creek Metropark – prior to last weekend. A fellow runner suggested we try Indian Springs Metropark sometime because it has a nice eight-mile path for running and cycling. We decided to check it out last weekend and made the drive out to Indian Springs on Saturday morning. It’s not the closest Metropark to us, but it’s within a reasonable driving distance, and the drive was very scenic due to the fall colors we saw along the way. The weather was perfect for running – a relatively warm (for October) morning with sunny skies and very little wind, so we ran the full eight-mile loop.
When we got to the park, we found the trailhead right away after following the main park road for a couple of miles. The park wasn’t very busy and we had no problem finding a parking spot. Like Stony Creek, which is a popular park for Detroit-area runners, Indian Springs has a paved two-lane trail for bicyclists, runners, and walkers that has the distance marked in regular intervals. Stony Creek’s trail is marked in 0.25-mile increments, while Indian Creek’s is marked every 0.1 mile and every kilometer. The run itself was pretty uneventful – I had tired legs and it felt like a struggle to keep my paces consistent from mile to mile. I did start to feel a little better toward the end of the run though, and managed to make the last mile my fastest one of the run by a few seconds. I really enjoyed running a new route, and the scenery at Indian Springs is great. The path is an out-and-back with a two-mile loop on the far end (between miles three and five). From the trailhead, it follows the main park road for about a mile before turning off into a wooded area for a couple of miles, splitting off into the two-mile loop, then rejoining the original path for the final three miles back. The fall colors were in full effect, and the leaves helped make it a very scenic route. We saw some other runners, a few walkers, and several cyclists while we were running, but it wasn’t too busy or crowded at any point. The entire route was pretty peaceful, especially the six miles that wound through the wooded areas. The distance markings were nice, though there were a few times during the run when I passed them and thought, “That was only another tenth of a mile? When will this end?”*
* My actual thoughts were edited for the sake of family friendliness
The park still wasn’t very busy when we finished our run, and we noticed a couple of empty playgrounds and other play areas nearby including a water spray area, a rock climbing wall, and an adventure maze…of course we couldn’t resist checking them out and getting a few photos. We really enjoyed running at Indian Springs. It’s a bit of a drive for us, so I’m not sure how often we’ll run there, but we hope to get out there on a fairly regular basis. One nice thing about Indian Springs is that we were told the path gets plowed promptly during the winter (as does the path at Stony Creek), so we might head to Indian Springs for some outdoor runs when the sidewalks, neighborhoods, and trails closer to us are too snowy or icy for running. But I’ll worry about that later – I’m still enjoying the fall weather and don’t want to think about winter running yet!
I wore my new Brooks PureFlow shoes for this run; the eight-miler is the farthest run I’ve done in them so far. I hope to do a longer run in them this weekend to see if they hold up as well as they have for my shorter runs. The PureFlow felt great on this run – they were very comfortable and didn’t feel too heavy even though my legs felt like cement at times. I’ve suffered from intermittent toe and arch pain throughout much of this year, but I didn’t feel any more (or different types of) pain on this run than I would normally feel while running eight miles on pavement. So far, I think the thing I like the most about the PureFlow is the balance Brooks has achieved between keeping them fairly lightweight and adequately cushioned. They’re noticeably heavier than racing flats like the Green Silence, but they feel lighter on my feet than any trainer I’ve used and the cushioning should make them comfortable on most types of terrain. I’ll definitely try them on longer runs and on more trails or unpaved roads soon so I can get a better idea of their versatility and feel on uneven surfaces.
Best of luck to everyone running in the Detroit and Grand Rapids half or full marathons Sunday, or in any other races this weekend – safe and happy running!
Have you run on a new route recently? If so, how was it different from your normal routes?
How do you choose new running routes? Do you rely on recommendations, or do you randomly try new routes and just see how it goes?
Where do you do your outdoor runs (parks, trails, running paths, sidewalks, roads, etc.)?
What are your weekend running plans?