These are the best months of the year to run on the Seacoast | SeacoastOnline.com
By Bob Wiles
October 26, 2011 2:00 AM
A couple of weeks ago I sang the praises of the local running community. Individually we are modest and easy to forget when a car passes us along the side of the road, but collectively we are an awesome sub-culture of healthy and passionate souls.
I was reminded of this over the weekend as I ran out around New Castle and down into Rye with a couple of friends. Exchanging subtle waves with dozens of other runners out on a Sunday morning enjoying the beautiful fall morning along the coast convinced me that we are in the middle of the "Perfect Storm" in terms of running...right now!
We have smoothly transitioned from hot summer days and nights into the cool, dry autumn months. Sure, we now have to wear a shirt most of the time and even a hat or gloves on some mornings, but in my book, October and November are a couple of the best months of the year to run on the Seacoast.
Visually, we get to watch the amazing scenery evolve right before our eyes as leaves transition from bright green to all sorts of beautiful hues, from electric yellow to fiery red. A variety of migratory birds chirp greetings down to us as they pass overhead, destined for warmer vacation spots in Florida or the Outer Banks. Tangent: Geese offer us a great example of working together in packs. They take turns up front and enthusiastically offer each other constant encouragement. They draft off each other and help each other re-connect with the main pack when someone falls off the back.
In terms of weather, there is a reason why fall marathons usually see the fastest times. Cooler temperatures and low humidity offer perfect conditions for comfortable running. My standard approach for dressing to run in the fall is that I want to be chilly standing around before I start moving and after a couple of miles it usually feels perfect.
To really overload your senses with everything that is majestic about the fall, I'd recommend venturing into the woods for a few miles. One of my normal routes consists of a combination of roads and trails, and this time of year it is always a treat to slide into the woods and run along trails lined with freshly fallen leaves.
With trails behind Portsmouth High School, the Urban Forestry Center, Mount Agamenticus, Odiorne Point State Park and countless others, you could check out a new trail system each week throughout the fall and never repeat yourself!
Another great aspect of fall is the opportunity to try cross country racing! For folks who took up running as adults, we missed out on the delight that is XC. However, there are dozens of cross country races within a short drive of us and it is an experience that every runner should enjoy. Something about dashing through the fields and woods with trees close on each side really reinforces the pleasure of just being outside and having fun.
Yes, I'm quite sure that fall on the Seacoast is a perfect combination of ingredients to cook up some amazing running. Great people, amazing scenery and beautiful weather ...; what else could we possibly need?
I've just had a great idea! Anyone who wants to meet me at Portsmouth High School this Saturday can join me for a run through the cross country trails and through the Urban Forestry Center. Heck, maybe we'll run down to Odiorne State Park as well! I'll be there and ready to go at 8 a.m. See you soon!
Bob Wiles lives in Kittery, Maine. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.