Monday, January 10, 2011

The trail run that saved the week

Last week sucked. Monday was cold. I mean really cold. Like 8 degrees cold. I've been out in temperatures lower than that, but Monday felt so much colder. I think it was the wind and it was humid. I wore my monkey feet and my toes warmed up after about 2 miles. Then after a comfortable cold 2 miles they started to freeze again. Then my face went numb and I swear my contacts started freezing to my eyeballs. Is that even possible? I cruised home as fast as I could those last 2 miles just to get out of the weather. My face hurt. (Yeah, I know the joke... does your face hurt? Well it hurts me. ha. ha.) Anyway, I couldn't get myself to do it again on Tuesday. Plus, the top of my foot was aching. I think that little 2 mile sprint home caused my form to not be so good. Perfect. So I ran an easy 3 miles barefoot on the treadmill and went to spinning that night. Wednesday comes and I decide that I can't do the treadmill every day. Mentally I can't do it. So I stuck on my Evo's and went outside. Cold wind again. However, my feet stay much warmer in shoes. Duh. Foot pain is slightly better. Thursday I decide to barefoot it again to evaluate my form. And to stay out of the cold. No foot pain. But the 3.5 miles felt long. Not a good sign. I still went to spinning that night even though I really didn't want to. Friday I did nothing. Yep, nothing. I was going to run outside and then was going to get on the treadmill and then decided to take a hot bath instead. I felt burned out and just plain tired. It's crazy how the start of the week seemed to determine the whole rest of the week for me. I stuck it out until Friday and then just needed a break. I didn't even feel guilty about it either.
However, I was really looking forward to Saturday. My husband and son were going fishing and earlier we had found a jeep trail that goes over the mountain to where they were going. It looked like vehicles had been on it recently and so I decided that I was going to get dropped off at the trailhead and then run to where they were fishing. I could wait in the lodge until they were done and everyone would be happy. I decided to invite Heather and her husband and son and we made a date of it. I had been excited all week long to do this. We got to the drop off point and discovered that the snow plows had pushed snow in front of the trail head and there was 8 inches of powder on the trail. It was not going to work. Maybe if I had thought to bring the snowshoes... But we just were not prepared for cold and wet feet the whole way. We tried it for about 20 feet and then turned around. Major bummer. We got dropped off at another point along the way and ran a hilly 6.5 miles on the road. I can't say how disappointed I felt. I had been looking forward to a trail run and this road running was not cutting it. I tried to cheer myself up because I was with Heather after all and I was on a run somewhere different than I normally run and it was beautiful.

Before we got to the fishing spot, we came to the other side of the trail. It was fine on this end. We couldn't figure it out. How were vehicles getting to this side when the other side was completely blocked? So we decided to run it for a while to see where it got bad.

I can't say how it rejuvenated me. It was gorgeous. Everything was white, even the sky. It was SO quiet. I don't think I've ever felt that kind of quiet before. Ever. It was almost spiritual. We ran and ran until we could see the other side of the mountain. I still don't know where it got bad or where they would turn around to get back out. But I can't wait to go try again and find out. The roads were icy and we had to constantly be scanning the terrain. But that's why I love trail running. Your mind is always busy but completely empty of everything else. Did that make sense?

When we turned around to head back I realized we were running downhill. I was having such a good time that I hadn't even noticed it was all uphill on the way there. There were a few times that I felt like I was flying over the top of the snow. I've decided that hard packed snow trails are the best.

We got back to the road and headed to the fishing spot. I noticed my feet were feeling tired and it was probably a good thing we were almost done. All that uneven surfaces, ice and rocks had taken it's toll. On the way back we saw wild turkeys, a couple of bald eagles and heard mice in the weeds beside us. We had hot cider in the lodge and only had to wait 15 minutes or so for the boys to be done fishing. That run was easily the highlight of my week. I can't wait to go back and do it again.

Monday: 6 miles in gorilla feet
Tuesday: 3 miles barefoot on treadmill, full body weights, cycling class
Wednesday: 6 miles in Evo's
Thursday: 3.5 miles barefoot on treadmill, full body weights, cycling class
Saturday: 13 miles in Evo's (5 miles trail)


Tricia said...

wow, I can only imagine snow like that...

Julie said...

So beautiful!

I was completely worn down on Friday and took it off, too!

I had a run in with a turkey when I was a kid and have been afraid of them ever since. A couple years ago I came face to face with a bunch of them while on a bike ride and I almost peed my pants I was so scared. I've never biked so fast in my life :p

Hannah said...

Your pictures always amaze me. Always! So beautiful!

Glad you had a great trail run. While I have not done a technical trail, I have done a few trails that involve rocks and I think I get when you're saying about your mind being clear, but busy at the same time. It is a great feeling!

I'm glad you didn't feel guilty for taking a day off. That is a great thing to listen to your body, and to take a day when you needed. Smart woman!

Ewa said...

What a beautiful scenery. Did the guys catch anything?
You ran at 8 degrees? Wow!.

MuncherCruncher said...

JEN! I am AMAZED right now. First of run in 8 degree weather!??! You are so much tougher than I. I can't handle to cold. I'm seriously impressed. 2nd...I'm sorry your feet were killing you. Worst thing ever. Lastly, those pictures are UNREAL. How beautiful. I am glad your run was so tranquil. It looked pretty dang awesome! Once're WAY tougher than I am...

wendy said...

Oh man! That run and your description of it sounds beautiful. I almost feel like I was there. I know that kind of quiet and it IS spiritual. I absolutely have to get outside to run. Thank you for inspiring me!

Anonymous said...

Gotta say I HATE winter, the cold, wind all of it, BUT when I do have a few runs in that quiet snow it is beautiful!! BTW If your having foot pain it can be from the gorilla feet. Go back check form and keep working on it. You can be sloppy in them if your not true to your form. Stick your foot in some ice :)

Doran & Jody said...

Oh so jealous!