Exercise gurus will tell you thats it’s good to have a training partner. The reasoning is that being accountable to someone will make you more likely to work out. But for trail runners, there is an even more compelling reason…the first person down the trail catches all the spider webs. YUCK.
If you are lucky, the web sticks to your arms or shoulders. If you are not so lucky, it sticks to your face or in your hair. Add a humid day, or lots of sticky bug spray to the mix, and the web is almost impossible to get rid of. So there you are, running through the woods, waving your arms, trying to dislodge the web, and praying that there isn’t a big spider stuck in it. Hmmmm, maybe it’s better to run alone. Then there’s nobody to witness your spider dance 🙂
Actually, spiders are pretty cool, as long as they don’t get too close. And spider webs are amazing. I googled spider webs, and found some interesting stuff here. Spiders weave a single thread, and throw it into the wind. If it catches on something, they tighten the thread, and use it as the basis of a web. I suspect a lot of the webs I catch when running are these very beginning threads. There are lots of spiderwebs in the bridge at the dam, but unfortunately, the fine, light thread doesn’t photograph well.
The only poisonous spiders that are supposed to live in Massachusetts are Black Widows. Somebody needs to tell that to the Brown Recluse spiders, because many local people have been bitten by them. I guess that makes me feel a little better about spiders hitching a ride on my run (not). And my guess is that the spiders would rather be left alone in their web, than dragged along by a hysterical runner!
Another advantage of a training partner, is that 2 sets of eyes make it more likely that you will notice things along the trail. Frogs, toads, and snakes move quickly, and they are hard to spot. You need to walk slowly through tall grass so as not to step on them.
There are all sorts of neat mushrooms, and it’s nice to see them before they get broken or run over.
So, Training partner pros: Someone else to catch the spider webs, another set of eyes to spot interesting stuff, conversation, a water bottle to share when yours is empty. And cons: a witness to your ridiculous spider dance. You decide.