Supporting running in the metro Richmond area
There is a nice trail system along the James in downtown Richmond. I think this link should get you started. http://www.jamesriverpark.org/visit-the-park/getting-there.php From where you're working, I'd suggest parking at the Main Area or Belle Isle. If you have any questions after checking it out, just post on here. Many of us in the Ultra Group run these trails regularly and can answer your questions.
There are also plenty of trails down at Pocahontas State Park if you'd rather head that direction: http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks/poc.shtml Be sure to pay to park though or you will get a ticket.
Yes Pocahontas is the place for you. Check out the Finley loop. It is about 13 miles (I think) and more fire roads than trails, but has some nice roll in them. The Mountain Bike trials (10 miles) are great fun to run, very runnable.
Which ultra are you training for?
So...does the Park allow runners on the trails that are "mountain bike only"? I'm actually from Denver, CO and commute here each week. If a trail is runner- or bike-only in Colorado, then that tends to be enforced.
The ultra I'm doing is the 50km version of this one: http://www.bearchaserace.com/ It's actually located within the greater Denver metro area, so I don't have to do anything other than show up on race day and drive away in the evening. Nice, simple logistics for my first ultra (other than completing the 31 miles, of course).
I run the mountain bike trails and have never had a problem. I believe they are shared trails, and are only one way, which is good, bikes only come at you from one direction. :-) I just keep an "ear" out and move out of the way, and ask if there are any others behind. All are cheerful.
I've only only "run" one race in CO, and that was on the Grand Mesa. What an awesome place!!! The Craigs Trail is amazing.... Think 10K feet, narrow trail and sharp, steep drop offs on both sides. Love it!
Outstanding! Running a mountain bike trail indeed would be a lot of fun. After even just a couple of road marathons I'm tired of "running straight and flat" (relatively speaking, that is). I'm not going to win anything, so I might as well have fun running :-)
Thanks for all the help.
Awesome, I am glad you found a good trail to run. You can buy an annual pass to the park and save on the gate fee. If you are here on the weekends, let us know, I am sure we can show you a few more trails. ie The Priest, Three Ridges, AT.....all kinds of great places to run out in the Blue Ridge mountains. Another Va based ultra running group site you might be interested in viewing... http://www.vhtrc.org/news/index.php