Sunday, April 22, 2012

Boy, I've Never Seen a Kid Do So Much Damned Whacking

While most of the world was still snuggled up in bed waiting for the sun to come up, I was up early for some morning activities in Pinckney, MI.  The Weed Whacker Run has been going on for 7 years now.  There are two parts to the event.  The first part is a 5 mile trail run around the trails near Half Moon Lake, and the second is a Michigan DNR organized pull of the invasive Garlic Mustard plants around the park.  This year, it just so happened to fall on Earth Day.
If you ever decide to join up for this one, go here, not the HQ place,
 or any of the other 3 stops I made wondering "Is this it?"

Half Moon Lake
I headed down about an hour early, which was probably pretty smart of me, because when I got to where I thought was the place, it wasn't there.  Apparently someone doesn't check their email enough and I just assumed the address on the race site was where I was supposed to be.  Luckily some other DNR people there gave me directions and a map (which I followed poorly twice before figuring out where I needed to be).

I still made it in plenty of time, and there were Running Fit people there offering us to try out some Brooks shoes, but I already love my current trail shoes, and I declined.  We were given a little rundown of trail/park rules and sent off on a trail with the instructions to "take every right until you get back here."  So off we went.

The easiest stretch of the trail
For five miles, I do have to admit the terrain ate me up pretty good.  Also, I started off pretty quick and three people passed me, but the rest of the crowd never did, and most of them ended up back before me.  So either they cut things off, and hit the 5K turn-around, not wanting to do the full 5 miles, or I got off track at some point and did some extra credit miles.  Without a watch or any way to track it, I guess I'll never know (pretty sure I got lost).

After we were done, I changed out of the running stuff into some weeding clothes, and we met with Laurel from the DNR and she showed us the enemy, gave us some information about it, and we went out to pull some weeds (so no, there was no actual whacking going on).

The enemy
Taking hostages...
I pulled out about two garbage bags full of the stuff, and was off on my own getting these little patches of it quite a bit.  Sometimes it was a nice social event, and other times you felt like that weird kid off playing in the sandbox by yourself.  It all kind of depended on your proximity to others after going toward your next future plant victims.  It's too bad we couldn't just set an example for them with one of the plants and scare them out of the area.  They also keep very tight lipped and will not give away the location of their cohorts no matter how much you twist their leaves, roots, or stalks.

Anyway, it was a very nice way to spend Earth Day, getting some trail running in and ridding the woods of herbaceous evil, even if killing plants for Earth Day seems kind of odd...


  1. Great way to spend earth day!I'll have to keep this in mind for next year. I've never done a trail race and with Pinckney right next door we really should get over that way more often! Love the hostage pic, LMAO!

  2. Sounds like a great event! Do Garlic Mustard plants smell ? Good for you for going out for a run & giving back to your community, but better than my earth day where I all I did was bake.

  3. The trails there are really nice. I think they're a little hillier than the Laingsburg trails they use for The Legend, because I'm pretty sure 13 miles of this would have killed me.

    Yes, the plants smell a little bit, and my clothes and, especially, my gloves still smell like it. They actually were encouraging us to take some leaves home and use them for cooking, but I didn't. My father in law has it all over his place, so I can probably go get some any time I want and do my own, more local, work on keeping this invader out. We were also informed that the K-zoo nature center put out a cookbook for this stuff

  4. that's pretty cool - both the trail run and weed pulling. next up: a post about cooking with garlic mustard plants right? :) i would like to do more trail runs myself, need to find some in my area. i can't blame you for getting lost. probably should round up to at least 8 miles for that!

    i must apologize for just now checking out your blog and becoming a follower - i know i've seen you pop up a few times on my own! not cool of me. i like your humor and now that i'm officially a GFC follower, i'll be back!

    1. i meant to say cool things to do for earth day. not that weed pulling is a cool thing to do on the regular... if you do think it is, feel free to come visit my yard.

    2. No worries, double digit followers too early in the process would have just went to my head anyway. I could maybe try some garlic mustard cooking. I mean, I do have to learn a new recipe every month anyway.

      One problem with doing this event is that now I'm seeing the stuff everywhere, especially on the trail I usually run at on Tuesdays, and I really had to fight off the urge to stop and pull it all out yesterday.

    3. Hey Brent,

      You got my curiosity up with the title to this post. I'm thinking, "What's he talking about anyway. I'll tell you, it's not that hard to get off course on trails. I've taken my share of wrong turns in training and in races too. I'm impressed with this unusual Duathlon, trail run and weed pulling though. It would have been cool if they allowed you to subtract 5 seconds per weed pulled off your trail time. Ha! Sounds like it was a productive and interesting Earth Day.

  5. Yeah, the title is a reference to a "Beavis and Butt-Head" Tom Anderson quote. I figured it would grab some attention. If we got 5 seconds per weed, I know I might have had a negative time (not that they timed us anyway), because I had two 30 gallon garbage bags full of them.


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