I'd like to extend an extra-special thanks to 3NonJoggers for their wonderfully cursed white shirt. Asshats. But more on that in a minute.
So after I did my morning workout with my trainer, I snagged some food, packed my bag, and changed my shoes before heading to the local state park down the road. I knew I'd have a bit of extra time this morning before work so I did my best to enjoy myself. I haven't run all week and it was starting to nag at me. After getting totally sucked into the black hole of my couch yesterday morning (and sleeping for 2 extra hours), I decided I needed to get my run on. So I set out to enjoy myself first and to focus on hilly routes and just running based on how I felt, not my pace.
I parked and headed down the first trail fully intent on crossing the little creek at the bottom that's at least knee-deep. I splashed through a few puddles along the way, passed a guy reading on a bench with his dog (more on him later), and generally just had fun. I wanted to trash my shoes and socks in an effort to put them to the test before heading to the HAT 50k this month and so far I was doing well at getting them dirty. At the bottom of the hill I cruised out onto the beach and saw the little stream was a bit deeper than I remembered. At least waist deep if not more. Yeah. Fuck that shit. So I ran to each end of the beach (not very far) and headed back up the hill (very slowly). Again I splashed through the puddles and stopped at my car to refill my bottle and grab a snack.
My first loop took me down the Stairway to Hell trail first and along the beach. How bad is this trail? Any local can tell you it sucks. 220 steps from top to bottom. And yes, I counted them (don't you know I'm OCD?). There's a few ups and downs in between but not many, mostly just stairs. As I got to the top of the longest stretch of stairs, I slid on the slimy, moldy platform. Holy fuck. Talk about being scared straight. I damn near wiped out at the top of at least 175 steps. In a row. That would have hurt. A lot. So I went slowly down the steps, onto the beach, and cruised to the other end to pick up the next trail. I slowly went up this trail (only 83 steps on this one) and slipped a lot where there were no steps. Very muddy, very loose, and very sketchy. But I survived and cruised down the other side before eventually making it back to my car.
Along the way back to my car, the guy that was reading with his dog pulled along side in his car and said "sorry to interrupt your run but did you go to Edinboro?" Talk about dumbfounded. Hardly anybody around here has heard of Edinboro. Hell, most people in the country have never heard of Edinboro University. Or if they have, it's because they think it's in Scotland. Well, it isn't. It's in north-western Pennsylvania. So we chatted for a few minutes but I was such the socially awkward penguin. I have no idea how to react to people I don't know. I have to be around you for a bit before I open up. Anyway, he graduated in 92, my wife and I graduated in 98, I mentioned it was a small world, etc. etc. etc.
From there I got more water at my car, downed a GU, and headed back out to run the same loop in reverse (going down 83 steps and up 220). And this is where the curse of the white shirt struck. Cruising along a nice flat section of trail, feeling good, see some puddles ahead to run through, WHAM! Tripped on a fucking root. Thankfully the ground was slick enough that was able to execute a decent tuck and roll. But yet again, I busted my strap on my Amphipod bottle. Shit on a stick. And got a pretty good chuck of mud in my watch band. And banged my hip hard enough to bruise it (but thankfully missed landing on my phone somehow). So I wiped myself off a bit, rubbed some dirt in new scratch on my leg, and kept going. Down 83 steps. Across the beach. Up 220 steps. Back to my car. And done.
Temps were about 65F when I started and crept up to 70F by the finish. Wasn't humid but I could feel the heat wearing me down the first few miles. Nearly took my shirt off but after I fell I realized that may not be a wise idea. Sun was out with a few clouds. Light breeze.
Fluids and Fuel:
After my workout I had two breakfast burritos and an iced latte. During the run I had a bottle of NUUN (first 3 or 4 miles) then a bottle of Hammer Fizz (last 3 miles or so). I took a GU gel around mile 4ish. I also ate some PowerBar chewy things but they didn't seem to help much. I could feel the GU kick in as well as the Hammer Fizz. Recovery was a bottle of ZICO and some ham when I got home.
Aches and Pains:
My calves were sore from the morning workout but held up pretty well. My right hamstring was starting to hurt on the second loop as I went down the steps. Again, I think I was over striding going down and it started to bark in the same spot just above the knee. My hip hurts now where I landed on it and I can feel the scratch on my left calf. Nothing too terrible though.
I love my Amphipod bottles but damn, they suck when you land on them. This will be the third bottle I've busted a strap on from falling. I even tried not to land on the bottle this time and it still broke. Thankfully I ordered two more from REI yesterday. And of course I was blessed with the curse of the white shirt again. I think I'm starting to see a pattern. Wear white, get stains. In other words, wear a white shirt and you're going to fall down in the mud. No iPod today but I did carry my phone to use RunKeeper to keep track of my distance (trail maps are always a bit unreliable). Wore my Smartwool socks and Altra Lone Peak shoes and put a healthy trashing on them. They both held up quite well so I think I'll continue with the combo until something rubs me the wrong way. Had no issues going through mud or water in them. Worst part of slipping was the moldy steps and the very loose mud (slick as snot). My feet would be cold going through the water but after 50 paces or so I wouldn't even notice. The shoes would get heavier with the water but would drain well too.
Codename - Let's Go Boro
I'm still amazed that I could meet a fellow Alumni in some remote park in the middle of the week. Crazy.
Splits are from RunKeeper and may not be entirely accurate. I also kept splits on my watch to keep me honest moving in and out of my aid station (aka my car).
Mile 1 - 12:45
Mile 2 - 12:34
Mile 3 - 17:08
Mile 4 - 14:00
Mile 5 - 11:58
Mile 6 - 14:09
Mile 7 - 16:18
Big Meadow Trail - 17:46
Aid Station 1 - 1:34
Beach Trail/Laurel Point Trail - 45:57
Aid Station 2 - 2:52
Laurel Point Trail/Beach Trail - 42:44
Finish - 1:50:56
PS - Here's the elevation profile for the route. I hated those hills but I hope they'll help.