There is a very good reason I have not posted any reviews, or current events this week: I was sick.
Thursday I drug myself out of the house to meet up with CRTR. We did a medium level route, I was behind at various points…when am I not? I actually finished the WHOLE route though! 5.5 miles! Yikes! Along the way I had to walk through a river. Not step in a puddle, not walk in mud, walk through a river! And I saw the front leg of a baby deer. Yes, just the front leg, from the socket to the hoof, fur in tact. Coyotes!
Friday I felt even worse, but managed to get the oomph to get up and hike with Mom and Emme. We did two different trails over in Goodyear Heights Metro Park. The Parcurs and Piney Woods. The first has stations about every tenth of a mile. At each you do a different cardio burst or strength challenge. For example, you would do large arm circles, or chin ups or push ups or balance beam. Bonus points for balance beam while holding a dog on a leash…OK not really. Piney Woods is connected and not very piney. A little hilly. All in all I was pleased with how I felt after the Thursday run and Friday hike.
Sat I woke to Gale texting me at 4:15 in the morning. No seriously, it was 4:15 in the AM. After I told her the night before I would not be getting up until 5:30. I shut my phone off and went back to sleep for an hour.
She arrived at my house at 6:00. I was a little off schedule from all the texting, but she even admitted I was more together than normal. I’m getting better at this packing thing the night before logic. We loaded the car, stopped for coffee and were on our way!
We arrived at the start with 15 minutes to spare. A few conversations here and there, a few trips to the potty and away we went into the woods. Right away we lost a majority of the group…however we had decided and agreed today was about the mileage, about the scenery, about our spirits, NOT about the time. We did admit we would like to see around 5 hours, but as long as we were enjoying ourselves that would trump everything else.
PA had the same rain OH did apparently and there was mud of all colors shapes and sizes. Rivers were rushing and leaves were scattered. I’ve written about Oil Creek MANY times before when I did training runs last year and when I ran my 50K. I’m not sure how much repetition is good at this point. So, I will keep this short, and please scroll to the bottom to see the photos.
Right away we knew our pace was off, but did not think it was horrible. By the time we reached the half way point we knew we were never making it back. Along the way we took pictures and spoke about life, love and the in between.
She was great company for what ended up being 6 hours! Plus the before and after travel. I loved the comfort that comes from being familiar with the trails. It was amazing to smell the pine, hear the birds, feel the sun and breeze. How anyone could not be at peace with these surroundings was beyond my grasp. Personally I think I enjoyed it more than I have in the past. Being out of school and work currently has made me appreciate things in a different way. Who am I if not a student or employee? Who am I as a runner if I don’t take it “seriously”? When I would train before I HAD to have my IPOD. Either because I had so much on my mind I didn’t want to think about my obligations, or more often, I had nothing of value to think about, I wasn’t always where I wanted to me, and I did not like the thoughts that came into my mind. Lately, I love the peace and removal.
Major points along the course and how we felt. About 2 miles in there is a big wooden sign. At this point it’s turn around, go down to the bike path, or carry on to Miller. It’s almost impossible (IMO) not to go on to Miller. Then again, that depends on if you know what’s ahead of you! Gale and I took our first pictures here and smiled at how happy we were to be back after 7 months. Around mile 4 is a bathroom and camping site. A great place to refill water, eat a snack and check goals. We were off pace, and a lady behind us caught up. We found out her name is Jamie and she was in the race with us last year! I knew her from the last leg. When I thought I would die until Pati and I found those girls? She was one of those girls. Jamie joined us for the hike to Miller. Miller farm which is out of the woods and down on ground level marks approximately mile 8. Pleased to be half done, we stopped for another potty and fuel break.
Across the bridge and diagonal into the woods we approached the switchback of doom! The shelter was creepy without the Xmas lights and food. After the switchbacks we found we started to quiver on the hills and the heat was coming in where the trees weren’t fully spread. Luckily this section has many sights to distract you while in pain. A few river crossing, countless peaks across the hill tops into the valley below…knowing you climbed down and up, down and up from that valley countless times! A scary shack that looks like a killer lives there, oil rigs or whatever, the snake tomb…a main road. Too much to name. With each step we grew increasingly tired. Conversation started to die down, feet blistered and swelled form the mud/water crossing and friction. Fun was slowly leaving the picture. When we knew we had about half a mile to go we walked out on the gravel road which would lead us “home” and a truck came by. Well, a jeep. It was Katie and her husband. Without hesitation Gale and I stopped our Garmins and hopped a ride back to the start. We cut it about 2 to 3 tenths short. OOOOHHH NOOOO (note sarcasm).
Sadly, we missed the picnic everyone has arranged since we were more than the last ones in. Katie and her husband Adam did show us how to enter the creek (“crick”) and away we went to ease our troubled toes. Together we found the courage to sit down in the “freezing” water. We laughed and howled and generally carried on as the cold rushed over our legs, cleaning some of the mud. Being the city girl I am…I was not OK with all the fish around me. I was starting to feel at ease when out of no where a crawfish comes scuttling up to me on a rock. Yea, I didn’t care how sore and limping I was. Suddenly I was falling over rocks running out of the river!
On the way home we ate at Kings. Yummy country fried steak for me. Eggs Benedict for Gale.
Before we made it to my house the “rapture” came and went. Guess we didn’t make the cut? That’s OK, I’ll keep running my trails.