Longboarding is for everyone!

By Ryan Allison

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Longboards are a longer and more stable skateboard than your traditional trick oriented skateboard. They have softer wheels, which allow a rider to roll right over rocks and twigs. Longboards are a great way to get around college campuses or even your neighborhood. These boards carry their speed well, are fun and an easy way to get out and get moving. Longboards have a great range of use–from the neighborhood cruiser, to the fast downhill carver.

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Skateboarding can be difficult and intimidating; but longboarding is much easier and more rider-friendly. This is due to the larger size of the board and wheels, which adds a great deal of stability compared to the traditional skateboard. This stability takes a lot of the hard falls out of the learning process.

 

What do you need to get started?

Well like all sports, there is probably no end to what you could choose to invest in regarding gear; but to get started, you really only need a longboard and a helmet. Always wear a helmet. There is other protective gear like wrist guards, knee and elbow pads and even tailbone pads. Although these options are out there, one can easily and safely learn how to longboard with only a helmet and a good attitude.  It also helps to have a pair of shoes with a flat bottom which will give the rider more control and stability. Once you get the hang of it, you can ride in just about any type of shoe.

 

Finding the Right Longboard

There are a wide variety of shapes and sizes of longboards a person can choose from. As with regular skateboarding, there isn’t really one right way to longboard. You may be a rider who cruises to and from work or class. Maybe you like to bomb hills or skate bowls. However you want to ride, there is a board for you.  The longer a board is the more stable it tends to be. This length can affect the turning ability or agility of the board, so a person who wants to ride in a skate bowl would want a shorter board than someone who wants to ride down hills, since a shorter board is better for tight turns but less stable for high speeds.

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 Great Positioning    

Now we need to know which foot to place in the front and which goes in the back. If you have already   ridden sideways while wakeboarding or snowboarding, then just go with the same stance that you used in those sports. If this is your first time riding sideways, we need determine which foot is your comfortable foot with which to lead.  Riding with your left foot forward is called “regular stance,” and riding with your   right foot forward is called “goofy.” Again, there is no right or wrong stance– there is only what is comfortable to you. There are many ways to determine which foot you are most comfortable having forward. Here are a few that we find work well.

 

Finding your Lead Foot

One way to find out is to imagine you are just in your socks and you are going to run and slide on a wood floor. Which foot would you lead with? That’s your stance.  A different way to determine your stance would be to either imagine or actually kick a ball, and the foot you kick with is typically your rear foot in your stance. For instance, I kick with my right foot and ride sideways with my left foot forward, which is regular stance. Lastly, you can have a friend help you by standing with both feet together, and have your friend give you a push backwards. Whichever foot you put back behind to brace yourself is typically your rear foot.

 

Time to Ride

Now that you know which foot is your lead foot, you can begin to familiarize yourself with standing on and pushing the longboard. Your rear foot is your push foot. To start out, it is good to place your lead foot right behind the front trucks (the things that hold the wheels) at around a 45-degree angle (whatever is comfortable to you). Next, with your rear foot, you can give a push. Then place that push foot right in front of the rear truck. Now you’re longboarding! As you get more comfortable with your balance and control on the board you will be able to move your front foot with your toes facing the nose of the board while you push then when you pull your rear foot on. You will adjust your front foot back to that 45-degree position mentioned earlier.

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Once you are able to push around, you can start learning to turn or carve on your board. Carving is done by leaning your weight onto your heels or your toes.  The direction you lean is the direction you will carve. You can adjust the trucks of your board to make turning easier at low speeds or tighten them for more stability at high speeds.  Find a nice open space with no traffic to practice carving and go down small declines.  You can stop by turning away from a decline or by slowing yourself down by dragging one foot on the ground.

 

However you choose to longboard, always wear a helmet, and remember to have fun! Longboarding is great because there is no wrong way to do it. Just go put down some carves and enjoy being outdoors!

 

8 Things To Remember While Running In The Heat!

Here are 8 things to keep in mind when running in the heat:

 

Make adjustments: Limit your workouts during the heat of the day. If you must run at midday, pick routes with shade. Start your workout slower than you usual. If you’re feeling good halfway through, it’s okay to take it up a bit.

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  Wear as little as possible: Only wear clothes that are lightweight and breathable. Microfiber  polyesters and cotton blends are good choices. Be sure to wear a hat, shades, and sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.



Limit use of alcohol and meds: Alcohol, antihistamines, and antidepressants can all have a dehydrating effect. Using them just before a run can make you have to pee, compounding your risk of dehydration.

 Drink water and sport drink: Top off your fluid stores with 16 ounces of sports drink or water an hour before you head out. Then drink five to eight ounces of sports drink about every 20 minutes while working out. Sports drinks beat water because they contain electrolytes, which increase your water-absorption rate, replace the electrolytes you lose in sweat, and taste good, making it easy to drink more.

 Be patient: Give yourself several days acclimatize to hot weather, gradually increasing the length and intensity of your training. In that time, your body will learn to decrease your heart rate, decrease your core body temperature, and increase your sweat rate.

 

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Try to find shade: It’s always hotter in cities than in surrounding areas because asphalt and concrete retain heat. If you must run in an urban or even a suburban area, look for shade—any park will do—and try to go in the early morning or late evening.

 

Check the breeze: If possible, start your run going with the wind and then run back with a headwind. Running into the wind has a cooling effect, and you’ll need that in the second half of a run.

 

Head out early or late: Even in the worst heat wave, it cools off significantly by dawn. Get your run done then, and you’ll feel good about it all day. Can’t fit it in? Wait until evening, when the sun’s rays aren’t as strong—just don’t do it so late that it keeps you from getting to sleep.

 

Stop by your local Sun & Ski to get all your hot weather running gear!!

Ultra Running and Run Culture Texas

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By Jon Perz

I am about 4.5 weeks out from my first one Hundred mile foot race. I just started running just like every one else I would say. Running was a thing that someone could do anywhere all you needed was shoes and maybe a watch. It was something I did to aid my rock climbing. My story is much like most runners started with a 5k fun run to seeing what a 10k is like, then daring the half marathon distance Thanks to Mynette and Jimmy. Once I saw how the half marathon had it’s ups downs physically and emotionally to the finish line I was hooked. I have not looked back. The goal for the end of year was a full marathon. I happen to find a Trail marathon in Huntsville state park in Huntsville Texas in early Feb. I normally trained on the trails for that race with some running at terry Hershey, Memorial park and Allen parkway loops. I found my self getting really excited about it. I was still worried about the distance, no different than now.

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The definition of an Ultra Marathon is anything past 26.2 miles. The most common distances are 50k ( 31 miles ) , 60k (37.5 miles ) 50 miles , 100k ( 62 miles) and 100 miles. Some ultras are time based by who can do the most mileage in an allotted amount of time. Why would you want to do that in the first place? That is a good question. I have asked this question of my self. It is to prove that someone can do something that seems so big. I will admit that you there is a bit of enjoyment in the suffering and process that comes with the reward of a race that people believe is too far. Ultras have the same anxiousness, excitement and relief when approaching the finish line. Its no different that someone’s first 5k, 10k, half or even full marathon. All the doubts and fears are there in your head. The start line will come soon.

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If it was not for good friends, great trails and the Houston running community I would not be where I am today. Houston has a great run clubs either social or competitive. There are trail running groups like Houston area Trail Runners and Houston trail runners extreme. Along with other run clubs that cater to all runners, distances and goals. They are in no particular order Runners High running club, City Centre Run club, West End run club and Brian Oneil’s Run club, Katy fit, Kenyan way, Inflight running and cypress run club.

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This is where I have found most of my ultra friends. Some joined my journey a little later and others have helped guide me.

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Texas more importantly has more ultra runners than most Realize. I feel proud to say that Houston has plenty of trails, trail runners and races for all abilities / distances.

Ski goggles… Don’t leave home without them!

gogglesOne of the most important items of equipment to purchase before going skiing is a good set of skiing goggles.

It does not matter what level of skiing you are at, from first time beginner to professional racer, a set of goggles is essential for many reasons. There are a wide variety of models available that have a range of prices, to suit all budgets. Typically, you can spend between $30 to $200

The differences in pricing mostly reflect the goggles lenses and the added benefits more expensive lenses would offer.

Why do we need to wear ski goggles?
There are two main reasons why we wear ski goggles:
The first is protection from the wind and the cold on our eyes when we are travelling at speed and the second is to protect the eyes from the sun.
There is another reason, which is of course fashion, and like all accessories some it is not an essential consideration but certainly one that many people take seriously.wind exposure

Higher priced goggles might offer more anti fogging abilities, lenses that are made from materials that allow more clarity of vision and also anti scratch properties. All ski goggle lenses should have 100% UV (ultra violet) sunlight protection.

Ski goggle lenses are also designed for different weather conditions.
Some lenses are designed for bright sunlight whilst others are designed for foggy or cloudy (white out) conditions. Professional skiers will have several sets of goggles to use for whatever weather conditions they face. It is also sometimes possible to have inter-changeable lenses on your goggles, although as it is the lenses that make up the bulk of the cost, it is just as effective to buy a second set of goggles and wear them according to the weather at the time.

As a beginner or recreational skier who can understandably only justify one set of goggles, I would recommend lenses for cloudy, foggy and white out conditions. (A white out is when it’s difficult to determine the difference between the cloud and the snow, therefore creating a feeling of disorientation). These lenses will enhance the contrast and help to minimize the impact of white out conditions. When the weather is sunny then you can wear sunglasses instead of your goggles, so you have goggles for bad weather, and sunglasses for good (sunny) weather.main picture

I have come across many recreational skiers who dislike wearing goggles and therefore always wear sunglasses for the following reasons: They feel uncomfortable, their face gets too hot, they think they look stupid, they prefer sunglasses as they think they look better in them.
The downsides to wearing sunglasses even on a sunny day are that it might still be very cold and your eyes can water/start to freeze up, the wind gets in your eyes, they can fall off too easily if not properly adjusted.

Personally I do wear sunglasses on sunny days, especially if teaching, mainly for some of the reasons I have given above! But, if skiing at anything approaching high speed, I would rather wear goggles with clear lenses on a sunny day then wear sunglasses. Also, they are not uncomfortable to wear, especially today as the manufacturing technology has improved.

If you are skiing in deep powder snow, always wear goggles, do not wear sunglasses, whatever the weather. If you fall, you will either lose your sunglasses in deep snow or they will get wet on the inside and you won’t be able to clear them until you get indoors.pic 1

Goggles can also ‘fog up’. This can be a common problem, especially with beginners. This generally happens when moisture forms on the inside of the lens due to overheating or water/snow entering the goggles. Once snow gets onto the lenses, either inside or outside, it can be difficult to stop the goggles from fogging up. The best solution is to try and prevent any snow or water getting on the lenses, but it is often easier said than done if you fall over in the snow or it is snowing. You should carry a good lens cloth with you and if the goggles do fog up, try and use covered type ski lift, where you will have time to dry them off. If you don’t have that facility and you really have problems with vision, it would be best to find a restaurant or other indoor area once in a while to dry the goggles off.

More expensive lenses can certainly help prevent fogging up but in my experience; if the weather conditions are humid and wet then all goggles will fog up at some point. It’s just part of the skiing experience. The best advice is just to keep them as dry as possible.

 

6 Offseason Tips for Triathletes

Sun & Ski Triathlon

Though triathlon is indeed “a” sport, triathletes must be able to do the three sports (swimming, cycling and running) in a manner that gets them across the finish line in the least amount of time. As a triathlete, you may or may not be aiming for a spot on the podium but you probably want to be fast—your personal definition of fast.

In order to be a fast triathlete you need to train like a triathlete, even in the offseason. You need to train for the demands of the sport of triathlon. Your winter or offseason training needs to compliment your training in the competitive season.

Here are six strategies for your offseason training to help you be a better triathlete when race season rolls around.

1) Optimize the number of workout sessions or your workout frequency.

If you have a single-sport history, say swimming as an example, more than likely you swam six days per week and sometimes you swam twice per day. If you try to apply that template to cycling and running for your triathlon plan, aiming for six sessions per sport per week, is a sure recipe for injury or overtraining issues.

Triathletes should aim to do two to three workout sessions per sport, per week. This means you will swim two to three times, bike two to three times, and run two to three times. If you are new to the sport, or it is your offseason, one or two workouts per sport each week is a great start.

As you gain experience, get closer to race season, and increase your triathlon performance aspirations, there may be times when you have four weekly workout sessions in one, or more, of the sports.

2) Strength train for triathlon, not body building.

There are differing opinions on the value of weight training in the offseason. I think most triathletes gain value by adding strength training to their offseason program. The value is increased power output on the bike, reducing the likelihood of injuries by correcting muscular imbalances and working on core body strength and stability.

In the weight room, focus on multiple-muscle movements that complement the sport of triathlon. Minimize the exercises that isolate a particular muscle.

3) Plan fast workouts.

It doesn’t matter if you’re doing six workout sessions per week or nine; plan to go fast in some of them. Your body needs the stress of fast workouts—and recovery—in order to make gains.

In the offseason, make the fast segments of your workouts short with long recovery intervals. Miracle intervals on an indoor trainer are a good example of this principle or the speedy segments can be just simple 20-second accelerations. Because the fast segments are very short and you can keep the number of repeats low, you can include some speedy segments in nearly all of your workouts.

I will say there are some coaches that make the offseason completely aerobic—no efforts above the aerobic level, whatsoever. I am not one of those coaches and I believe keeping some fast training in your routine in the offseason is critical.

4) Remove threshold intervals in the offseason.

Though you should keep some fast segments in your training for most of the year, do not keep flogging yourself with the same old lactate threshold workouts year-round. Repeating high-intensity workouts day in and day out leads to boredom, risk of injury and certainly a plateau in performance.

When do you begin to add threshold training back into the fold? The answer depends on your short term and long term goals.

5) Plan key workouts.

Make your “hard” workouts count towards performance increases. These hard sessions should be considered key workouts. A key workout can work on improving your speed, endurance or in some cases both. Depending on what you’re doing in the weight room, a key session may be a strength session in the offseason.

A good rule of thumb is to limit your key workouts to between two and four per week—total in all sports.

6) Consider a single-sport focus in the offseason.

If your swim is your weak link in your races, try swimming four or five days per week. Keep your swimming and cycling workouts easy and limit them to only one or two per week. If cycling is your weak link, try adding a weekly group ride as one of your key workouts. If running is your weak link, add one more run session per week, but keep an eye on injury indicators.

In all cases of single-sport focus, consider spending four to six months training for a single-sport event (a swim meet, a cycling event or a running race) while keeping the other sports maintained at a minimum level.

With some key changes to your training routine and consistency in the offseason, you will be a better—and faster—triathlete next season.

 

Article by Gale Bernhardt

Kick start your new year with a running resolution: How to get in shape for 2013

Kick start your new year with a running resolution


Another year brings another set of lofty resolutions, but you want to set fitness goals and wellness priorities that will really count in 2013. Running is the perfect segue into a healthier, happier you.

“For someone who’s looking to go from couch to 5K, the first thing I would suggest is that they get fitted for shoes,” says Jimmy Boyle, footwear buyer for Sun & Ski. “The key is getting into the right footwear, which a representative can recommend by analyzing a customer’s gait.”

Whether you’re a neutral runner, an overpronator or a supinator, experts at Sun & Ski can tell you what model is right for you — and what’s hot right now, like Brooks‘ Pure 2 and new models from Newton that are as comfortable as they are vibrant.

The next step, Boyle suggests, is connecting with a local running club and signing up for a race. Both the West End Running Club and the CityCentre Running Club are free, socially-focused organizations that meet weekly in Houston.

“Running is sort of terrible when you first start,” he says, “but if you put something on the calendar and train for it with others, you’re more prone to get out there and run.”

Once you’re up to speed, you’ll be ready for any after-work jogging invitation or Flash Mob Race that comes your way — even with just a few days notice. Sun & Ski will launch its second Flash Mob Series in March, so stay connected on Facebook for dates and locations.

Even for the veteran runner, the holiday season tends to interrupt proper diet and exercise. Now’s the time to get back on track by replacing sugary sodas with water at lunch and setting a training schedule that’s easy to stick with.

Boyle says that the proper running apparel can make all the difference, especially in winter conditions. A moisture-wicking fabric keeps your clothes from getting wet and heavy and prevents chafing.

Other add-ons just make the experience better and safer: A water bottle or hydration belt, like the Sprint Palm Bottle ($11.95) or the R30 Hydration Belt ($43.95) from Fuel Belt, to keep you hydrated; an easy-to-use GPS watch, like the Soleus GPS 1.0 Digital Training Watch ($79.93), to help you track your progress and stay the course; and a reflector light, like the Nathan Streak Reflective Vest ($26), to increase your visibility at night.

Now it’s time to get out there and run. Boyle suggests Memorial Park and Terry Hershey Park for the best trails in Houston.

By Promoted Series Correspondent
http://houston.culturemap.com/newsdetail/01-15-13-houston-kick-start-your-new-year-with-a-running-resolution-how-to-get-in-shape-for-2013

The Sun & Ski Cure for the Winter Time Blues

How are you supposed to switch gears from sunshine and wakeboarding to ice covered lakes? When summer ends, it can sometimes be hard to make the adjustmentto cooler weather.

Why not try investing your downtime into a new sport this winter?

Believe it or not, snowboarding can actually make you a better wakeboarder.The skills you can develop while snowboarding can translate to help improve your already impressive wakeboarding skills.

Some of the areas that snowboarding can help you improve include:

  • Strength – Snowboarding requires you to move in ways similar to wakeboarding. This means you will not lose all the progress you made over the summer.
  • Turning – Snowboarders shift their weight using their toes or heels, which differs from wakeboarding. However, if you can work to develop a strong snowboard turning technique, it will most likely improve turning when you wakeboard.
  • Focus – Just like wakeboarding, it’s essential to be aware of your surroundings when snowboarding. Maintaining this level of awareness all winter will help you stay alert when you start wakeboarding again.

If you do plan on hitting the slopes this winter season, you’re going to need the warmest snowboarding and skiing clothes. Shop for the top brands and you’ll be sure to start off in style. Here’s a list to get you started:

  • Men & Women’s snowboards
  • Men & Women’s skis
  • Men & Women’s Ski boots
  • Men & Women’s ski and snowboard jackets
  • Men & Women’s ski and snowboard pants
  • Ski Goggles

Invest in only the essential items and grow your wardrobe when you decide you’re going to stick with the sport. Shop Sun & Ski for a wide selection of name brands including The North Face, Spyder, Canada Goose, and more to get you started.

The Best Running Surfaces

Are you wondering what running surfaces are best for you? What is the difference between running on grass and running on cement? Different running surfaces have different effects on your running shoes and body. Below is an overview of a few running surfaces so you can decide what surface you should be on this season.

Hard Surfaces

Cement and asphalt are the most popular hard running surfaces because they make up most roads and sidewalks. While these surfaces are accessible, they are not always the healthiest choice. Running on cement and asphalt creates a hard impact, increasing the likelihood of damage to both your running shoes and body. It’s best to stay away from these surfaces to avoid injury and overuse, but remember to do some limited training on them if you plan to compete in a road race.

Soft Surfaces

Grass is one of the lowest-impact surfaces you can find. It can be good for saving your joints, but be prepared to work your muscles harder. Remember to beware of uneven ground as you take advantage of long stretches of grass.Grass is good for speed work and allowing your joints and bones to rest.

Another soft surface is the dirt trail, one of the healthiest running surface choices. These usually run through forests, making for interesting scenery and a safe surface. While you’ll need to watch out for roots and mud, dirt paths can increase the life of your running shoes and allow your body to stay healthy as you maintain your desired mileage.

Softer is usually better when it comes to running surfaces. You can add life to both your body and running shoes as you become conscious of your surfaces.

When you need new men’s running shoes or women’s running shoes, Sun and Ski Sports is here to help you maintain your healthy running lifestyle.

How to Clean Your Running Shoes

That last run may have been invigorating, but the muddy trails you splashed through probably weren’t that great for your running shoes. But they’re just battle scars, right? Your shoes need to be properly worn in when you’re running, don’t they?

While it’s not bad to have a favorite, worn-in pair of running shoes, it’s important that you take care of them. Occasionally, this might even mean cleaning your shoes to ensure they last longer.

Follow these simple rules to keep your favorite men’s or women’s running shoes in proper working condition:

Take them on and off properly
After a long run, the first thing you want to do is rip off your shoes. Resist this temptation! It’s important that you don’t take your running shoes off without untying the shoe laces. Loosening them before you take them off will prevent stretching and damage.

Never put your running shoes in the washing machine
Your shoes will get dirty, but the best way to clean your running shoes is with a scrub brush, soap and cold water. Then simply let them air dry.

Properly store your running shoes
It’s important to keep your shoes in a cool, dry area of your home. They need to properly air out after each use. You don’t want to store your shoes in a locker, gym bag or trunk of your car.

Dry wet shoes
If you do happen to find yourself running through puddles, it’s important to let your running shoes completely dry before putting them on again. Simply loosen the laces, take out the insoles and let them air dry. Placing your shoes in direct heat can dry out the leather and other materials.

What do you do while your favorite running shoes are drying? Well, that’s the perfect time to shop for a new pair of men’s running shoes or women’s running shoes from Sun and Ski Sports. Having alternate pairs of shoes will make your running shoes last longer and give them time in-between runs to properly dry out.

Cambodia Trails – Running it in Houston – Memorial Park

Memorial Park – Cambodia Trails

Today we’ll be taking a look at the memorial park green trail, also known at the Cambodia trial. This trail is marked as an advanced trail due to the nature of the terrain. It is only 1.77 miles long, but requires intense concentration and a good pair of trail running shoes.

This trail is designed for mountain bikers, so please run with caution and always give the bikers the right of way. When you hear one coming, just step off to the side and wait tell they pass. I would highly recommend that you run this without earphones or music. The trail is very narrow, and if you’re not listening for bikers they’ll be on you before you have the chance to get out of the way.

The Cambodia trail has got to be one of my favorite runs. It keeps me on my toes with it’s terrain changing qualities, and helps me forget I’m in Houston.
Memorial Park has so much to offer to us that are here in Houston. You’ve got everything from soccer, baseball, tennis, football, rugby and volleyball courts, to a wonderful 3 mile easy trail, mountain biking trails, horseback riding trails, a fitness center and a swimming pool. You even have some very nice playgrounds for the kids and nice places to barbecue.

I rank trail into three categories: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced.

Beginner Trails are under a mile, usually only gravel, asphalt or concrete

Intermediate trails are over 1 mile in length, and under 3 miles. They consist of gravel, asphalt or concrete

Advanced trails are over 3 miles in length or are off road trails that are not paved, usually used by mountain bikers. The terrain of these trails requires intense concentration and a good pair of trail running shoes.

I give the Cambodia trails an advanced ranking. It can be treacherous if you are not careful. I’ve twisted my ankles more than three times already. It is difficult to see the roots and stumps sometimes and extreme caution is needed.

The danger aside, it is one of the funnest and most exciting runs in Houston. It’s like moving zen when you’re running through this trail. a total meditation.
The trail is marked along the way with green pylons and there are a few maps which were recently installed. As long as you stay on the trail, getting lost is hard. There are some trails with posted signs that say, no mountain bikers beyond this point. I would recommend to stay off those trails until you become very familiar with the park. I took one once and was lost for over an hour.

The trail consists of three different surfaces. You have some concrete stones, soft ground, hard rocky ground and spots with lots of roots.

This is an out and back trail, which means that, although the trail is only 1.77 miles long, you will have to run more to get back to your car. You can either run back the same way, adding another 1.77 miles to your run, or you can run back along Memorial Drive which will only add a .79 mile more to your run, for a total of 2.56 miles.
The trail is located next to Picnic Park LN. Which is a good spot to drop off your car, or you can opt for over 4 miles by parking where the tennis courts are and running around the 3 mile trail, adding in the Cambodia trail along the way. I’ll usually run it this way, adding in the purple trails as well.

It’s an adventure running through these trails. Join me on a peaceful, spirited run.