I’m back to work today after a glorious ten days off. Boo. Why does vacation fly by so fast? Instead of complaining more, I’ll share a recap from my longer trail run from Saturday morning. Heads up! There is a picture of a small amount of blood at the end of this post. Also, there are lots of pictures in general!
This past Saturday Barry and I were up bright and early to head up to Pandapas Pond to run on some trails through the Jefferson National Forest. We had planned to head out early because we needed to be home by 10, so I had my alarm set for 5:45 AM. But as it turns out I was tossing and turning from about 3:00 AM on and finally got up around 4:30 for good. I didn’t mention it last week when I said I had my first cavity and filling, but my tooth and mouth had actually been throbbing since my trip to the dentist last Monday (12/29). I have since begun an ibuprofen regimen (under dentist’s orders) in the hopes that the nerve in my tooth will calm down so that I don’t have to pursue further treatment. Anyway, by the time we arrived at Pandapas I was about ready to go back to bed. Not to mention it was pouring and around 36 degrees.
But we had plans for a run, and the weather wasn’t going to stop us. Luckily, the rain briefly stopped after we started running. From there on, it only rained lightly on and off the rest of the morning. The first thing I did was head over to the pond to hit the restroom prior to my run.
From the pond, I headed over to Horst Nettle Trail for an out and back run up Brush Mountain. I’ve done this run a few times, now, and just like the very first time I had to mix in a fair amount of hiking on the way up. I’m sure my strength will come back soon, though!
It was very wet and muddy on the trails, and at times my feet were slipping and sliding out from under me. I managed to stay upright the entire run, though. It also got foggier and foggier as my elevation increased.
At times, I had maybe 10 feet of visibility in any direction as I ran along the trail and the gravel fire road. Barry was running separate from me, and despite there being a few other cars in the parking lot I never saw anyone else. It was kind of spooky! Here’s a comparison photo of the view from the fire tower on a clear day and how it looked on Saturday.
Shortly after passing the fire tower I made it to the very top of Brush Mountain and was a little over halfway through my run (thanks to the detour to the pond at the beginning). It was much colder up there than it had been in the parking lot, and everything was all icy. The fog and mist floating around made it look like the mountain was on fire.
Before heading back down the mountain I had a salted caramel GU. I hadn’t had one of those since the Marine Corps Marathon, and I forgot how delicious they are. Yum!
After enjoying that deliciousness it was time to head back down. There are still some hills on the way down, because the first mile or so is on a fire road that undulates, but it’s pretty much a net downhill.
The fire road was still super foggy on the way back down, even though it was starting to get a lot lighter outside. Here’s another comparison, this time of the fire road on a clear day versus Saturday.
Wouldn’t that give you the creeps? I kept waiting for someone to appear out of the fog and startle me, but it never happened. Good opportunity to not get “caught” taking a selfie, at least!
As usual, the trip down was much quicker than the way up. It was more interesting than it has been in the past, though, because my feet would often slip a few inches in the mud with each footfall.
Finally, I made it back onto the main path that connects Horse Nettle Trail to the parking lot. There’s one last little hill back up to the lot that always feels tougher than it really is. My legs were pretty tired!
I met back up with Barry at the parking lot, arriving a few minutes after when I was supposed to be back. I’ll blame that one on my side trip to the pond at the beginning of the run. My shoes and lower legs were really muddy and soaking wet. The picture doesn’t do it justice.
As I was checking out all of the mud on my legs, I found something else I had no idea about…
Oops! It turns out the mud and wet caused my right sock to ride down on my shoe, and my Achilles got rubbed raw. The crazy part is I didn’t feel it at all while running. I guess because it was cold enough that my feet and ankles were numb the whole time. I definitely felt it in the shower later, though!
All in all, I logged 18 miles last week with my return to regular running. I’m glad I was able to sneak in one longer trail run before this weekend’s 10K trail race. Hopefully I will survive! I think it’s going to be a tough one, but there will be plenty of room for improvement as I continue with the trail series races this spring.
What adventures did you get into this weekend?