Tag Archives: Ward Pound Ridge

The Looper Bowl 2015

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As I am sure many of you already know, an adventurous guy like me doesn’t usually take it easy during the winter. I see the harsh winter weather as the perfect opportunity to toughen myself as a runner. By the time spring comes around, I feel all but unstoppable. Of course, running in the snow isn’t for everyone, and there are lots of other ways to improve your running. Be very careful out there if you’re new to winter running.

With the zest for winter adventure in me, I decided to run(not joggle) the Looper Bowl yet again. The Looper Bowl 10k is a free yearly event that takes place at 8 AM on Super Bowl Sunday up at the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. It follows the “Leatherman’s Loop”, a trail that snakes its way through the forest while going up and down some mighty hills. In fair weather it is challenging enough, but about 30 of us did it in the snow while it was just over zero degrees. Besides being much colder compared to last year, this year there was often several inches of snow on the trail. Also unlike last year I wasn’t recovering from a knee injury.

I must admit that it was so cold and the deep snow so intimidating I almost didn’t do it. My hands and my feet were so cold they felt like they were going to fall off, even though I had on heavy gloves, thick socks and 2 winter hats and multiple layers. I felt like I was going to get frost-bitten, I seldom run when it is this cold. For the first 2 miles I hated being out there, but then I started warming up and felt elated over this.

After warming up, every step of the way was breathtaking winter beauty, especially when I was at the top of a big hill looking around. I usually had to walk up those hills, like most of the other runners. When going downhill, I often found it easier to just slide down them than to walk down or try running down. Although I was wearing my Kahtoola Nanospikes, they were of little help on this run. They are mainly for running on icy sidewalks or a thin layer of snow, not snowy trail running.

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The last couple of miles were serene; by then it was almost 10 F, and it felt spectacular running with like-minded winter running lunatics, inspiring each other forward. It also helps that I didn’t get lost like I did last year. For a short run, I felt pretty sore near the end, due to all the snow and hills. It felt heavenly crossing the “finish line”; running in snow for many miles produces a special kind of runner’s high. It took me 1:18 minutes to complete this 6.2 mile loop, which I think is pretty good considering all the snow and big hills on this trail. Although I found it difficult in the beginning, all in all it was a terrific experience.

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To joggle or not to joggle at the Looper Bowl

If you’ve been following this blog long enough, you may be under the impression that I juggle whenever I run. This isn’t actually the case, though it’s usually over 90% of the time, so it’s almost true.

In fact, just this weekend I did a 10k(6 mile) non-joggling run up in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, NY called the “Looper Bowl” with a bunch of other enthusiastic runners. They call it this because the run is on the Leatherman’s Loop trail, which loops back to where it starts, and it was on the morning of Super Bowl sunday. It’s a very hilly, treacherous trail with a lot of water crossings(mostly frozen), so it was a lot of fun! I hear it’s even more fun during spring and summer events on this trail, with some crazy runners going through the water waist deep. I may try this next time.

Days before the run, I kept arguing with myself if I should juggle during this run, and decided not to, due to the ice and snow on this very challenging course. And it wasn’t just my own safety I was concerned about, but the safety of other runners. Besides this, my right knee still gets a little sore when I run.

After less than a mile into the run, it became obvious that I made the right decision. It sure was rocky, steep, and slippery in some places(I borrowed my brother’s traction attachments for my sneakers, since mine broke). Still, I am used to this kind of thing and that just makes it more fun for me. Running on flat surfaces is dullsville to me.

I really believe that all the joggling I do pays off. Even when I am just running, it helps make me a better, more confident runner, making challenging terrain easier to handle. Without the balls, I can run just a little faster, and I feel I have more stamina. I also think that thanks to the joggling I do, my coordination is better and my eyes are sharper. For example, toward the end of the run, we had to go through a swampy area with thorny brambles galore. For some reason, I was one of the few runners who didn’t get pierced by thorns or stuck in the thorny bushes. Some unlucky runners legs got really bloody. I really hope they are okay by now.

So if you want to be a better runner, especially a better trail runner, consider taking up joggling. You don’t have to juggle every time you run, but it may help you when you’re dealing with very treacherous terrain, even if you’re just running it.