Sunday, February 6, 2011

The winter trail run that tried to kill me.

Despite some crazy swings in temperatures this week, I was able to make the best of it. We had -3 degrees on Tuesday with a howling wind and then Saturday was a balmy 35 degrees and mostly sunny. It was beautiful. I was on the treadmill for the first 3 days. I had planned on Monday and Wednesday for my speed and tempo workouts, but Tuesday's wind made it an easy decision. However, I was really itching to be outside and Thursday and Friday's run were great.
Saturday turned out to be an adventure slash near death experience. I had a long run on tap and Heather was going to run part of it with me. I ran almost 5 before we met up and then we decided to run the trail that I love that's close to our home. I had run it on Christmas Day and it was o.k. and we both just thought it would be fun. We got up there and there was quite a bit more snow than I had anticipated. But we decided to just to go for it.

This is our scared face. Don't make fun.
I had not taken into account the fact that it is a northern facing slope and doesn't see the sun. So while the other side of the mountain has little snow, this side was pretty bad. But with the recent cold temperatures and deer tracks, it was packed down slightly and wasn't too bad. We were both wearing our gorilla gloves (VFF's) and they have zero traction. (I got the o.k. to get some VFF's for trail running. Yeah!) We were sliding around quite a bit. I didn't wear socks and the snow falling in wasn't bad but wasn't great either. I had frozen toes by the end.

We encountered a big fallen down tree that we ended up climbing over and then came upon the various ice falls. There's water that runs year round and with the freezing temperatures, it froze on the trail. The ice on the trail was tricky, but we either went up and around, down and around, or once I just skated gracefully right across the top. It was kind of fun.

Then we came upon this. I saw it and knew we were in trouble. Heather saw it and get out a big, "OH NO!" Shale cliff up above. Shale drop off below ending in the icy river. No snow for traction and though the picture doesn't show it, the ice was not flat, it was rounded on top the whole way across. It was about 8-10 feet until the trail was decent again. We really didn't want to turn back. We tried going above, but kept sliding back down on the shale rock to the trail. It was one of those impossible moments.

I finally decided to just see how far I could get. I held on to a strong icicle to get me to the tree branch and then had to free hand it on the ice for two steps to reach the trail on the other side. It was one of the most nerve racking things I've ever done. Heather crossed in my path. I found a stick for her to hold on to on the last bit (really it wouldn't have done anything...) and once she was safely across we gave each other a quick hug and finished up. That will get the heart rate going.

We laughed about it once we were down and we'll chock it up to another crazy adventure. Hopefully her husband will still let her do things with me. We cruised home so that she could make it to her son's basketball game.

I still had a few more miles to put in so I decided to try and run back up the canyon to get my car at the trail head. (I stopped to take a picture of the ice fall we went over. Nice drop down, huh? Closer view down below. Wonder if anyone saw us from the highway.) 4.5 miles with an altitude gain of 754 feet. I was at 14.5 miles by then but still felt good. So I parked a little ways from home and ran another 2 miles. I knew that I was going to feel this run. But I was glad.
Sidenote: This was the longest run I've done with the gorilla feet. They worked good. I get a blister when I wear them without socks on the inside of my foot but I stuck a band aid there before the run and didn't have any issues. My feet did feel bruised from all the rocks though.

The Saturday's adventure didn't stop there. After I showered, my husband asked me if I wanted to go on a hike with him on the mountain behind our house to see some old childhood spots where he played. I will never pass up a chance to do that. So even though I knew my body was going to pay for it, I pulled my hair back and after I ate a huge lunch and drank about a gallon of water, we set out.

It was beautiful!

The views were great. It was like a mini date and we worked really hard. We were not on trails very much of the time and it seemed like we were going straight up. Another elevation climb of 900 feet. It was mostly rocks. We hiked for about 2 hours and I think we only covered about 4 miles. By the time we were almost home, I was ravenous. I was rewarded with Texas Roadhouse ribs and it was an awesome day. My hamstrings are sore. And I think that Monday's speedwork will be pushed to Tuesday, but it was all worth it.

What was your weekend like?
Do you ever get yourself in sticky situations?
Have a near death experience that you want to share?

Monday: 6.5 mile speed work out in Evo's, full body weights
Tuesday: 4.5 mile run on treadmill (3 miles barefoot, 1.5 in socks)
Wednesday: 6 mile tempo run in Evo's, full body weights
Thursday: 4.5 mile run in Evo's, cycling class
Friday: 4 mile run in gorilla feet
Saturday: 16.5 mile run in gorilla feet (3 miles trail), 4 mile trail hike


Tara said...

Great job getting out there in the cold (even though you had a near death experience). I'm a wimp and won't run in anything under 50 outside.

Amber said...

Wow that does look very unsafe on the ice patches. At least you got out there. I'm with tara, I don't do cold.
It looks very pretty out there too!

Ewa said...

What an adventure. I so totally agree about VFFs not doing well on slippery trails. I have Treks and they are better but now I am considering minimalist Merrell Trail Gloves. They don't have separate toes so will be warmer and my feet like to be warm.

Anonymous said...

Wow!! You go girl!! Weren't your feet cold in them?? I could never get my feet warm no matter what!

Can't say I've experienced a sticky situation like this

Near death? Hmm I was in 3 car accidents for 3 weekends in a row in highschool.

Candice @ I Have Run said...

Texas Roadhouse...yummm!

Your run/adventure sounds crazy!! You are such a rock star.

I'm loving the updates on your barefoot progress. Have a great week!

LAPT said...

Those icy trails look like our SIDEWALKS! People weren't shoveling and the rain turned everything to ice. EEKS!

Audrey said...

I love it! I live for runs like that! Yes, I may hate them in the moment, but so worth it afterwards - way to go!

Julia said...

you are so inspiring! and that trail run sounds so adventurous!! how cool! plus the hiking...I am envious...have not been out hiking in a while and am itching to get out and enjoy the outdoors a little bit. have a good week!

katie thompson said...

that trail looks awesome but you are a rock star to do it in the slush like that. wow..

Julie said...

I was reading your daring story and thinking of a show I watched on tv last night about Aron Ralston.

You. Be. Careful. Lady!

Stefanie D. said...

WOW. That looks SO COLD!! Go you!

I just found your blog. Hope you dont mind me stalking it. :)

The Hungry Runner Girl said...

Best mini-date two are adorable.
Girl, you DID NOT RUN IN THAT!!! WHO ARE YOU? You are a rockstar...I don't know how you made it out of there alive, I would have curled up in a ball and stayed there forever. Great long run in your gorilla feet! THAT IS AWESOME!! Texas Roadhouse is my favorite, that is the best reward ever! Have a great Tuesday!

Doran & Jody said...

Another run I was left behind. (hanging head)
But we did get a run in on Saturday. My first in a long time outside. I loved it! I added more distance than I thought. I still don't know how far we went...maybe three blocks? But I was just concentrating on the dang 60 minutes I had to get in.

Rachelle Wardle said...

Um yeah you are pretty much amazing. Wow I have no reason to ever be a baby ever again. Seriously you deserve a medal. Good job!!

Teamarcia said...

Sheesh I'm terrified just reading this! But now that you lived to tell about it you'll have great stories for years to come.

The Hungry Runner Girl said...

I love you and I am so grateful for you!

MuncherCruncher said...

OH MY GOSH GIRL!! You are the nicest person in the whole wide world!! Janae gave me the sugar free jam and applesauce that you brought for me tonight, and I am seriously SO EXCITED!!!! Could you be any sweeter? I think not. Seriously, thank you! You are darling.
Also, you are HARD CORE! I cannot believe you toughed this cold weather in gorilla feet. You are my idol. Intense.
Thanks again. You made my day :) xoxoxo

Kimberly @ Im Not Done said...

Wow, you are awesome! I don't think I would have survived that!! I am such a wimp when it comes to snow and ice.

wendy said...

Wow! I am so impressed with your Saturday. You are awesome.

Jess said...

Oh, my goodness! You are awesome for going over the ice - I don't know if I would have done that. I might have been too chicken and just turned around! Good for you!