Sometimes, I just don't feel like venturing outside of the beltway to find some trails for my run. Luckily, I can head on over to give a shout out to Teddy and do some short laps around the Theodore Roosevelt Island.
The island is a great little gem in North Arlington, right off the GW Parkway. The parking lot is accessible from the North bound lanes of the GW parkway, and their is ample parking to go around if you get there reasonably early. (I have arrived close to 10am and there were many open spots.) Another awesome thing about this park's location is that it links up with the Mount Vernon trail, so you can even run there via the well maintained and paved bike / foot traffic trail if you so choose. Also, it is a stone's throw from the C&O Canal Towpath, and is directly next to an access point for the Potomac Heritage trail (same parking lot, right by car entrance way).
Each blaze green lap at Teddy is about 1.3 miles - so while I wouldn't head out there for a 20 miler, it is great for some shorter runs. Also, on April 1, the bathrooms will open back up for the season - something us distance junkies nearly always note. The laps are flat, the trail is well maintained, and you will usually see quite a few other people out for runs and walks with families and friends of both the two and four legged variety. Despite the heavy use, and the 'as close to road without being asphalt' trails, it's a great way to satisfy the craving for some mud on the shoes. It's also proven to be a fantastic wind blocker, thanks to the trees that cover the island. If you live in NOVA and haven't checked out Teddy Roosevelt, I highly suggest you do even if you are not a trail runner. It is a very enjoyable trail that breaks up some of the monotony of asphalt pounding.
More information on the park and how to get there can be found at http://www.nps.gov/this/index.htm.
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