Saturday, February 7, 2015

A Tale of Two Runs... and a Hike

I set out this morning to Bradbury in the hopes of doing the Beautiful Loop. I really was hoping for a long run on the trails. I was a bit nervous about conditions, as although the suspicion was that the snowmobile trails out that way would have received way more traffic than those around here, it was still hard to know how packed they would be. It has been so cold and there has been so much snow that the snow isn't really packing. It is still very light and loose, pretty much everywhere. I almost didn't bring my snowshoes, but in a last minute change of heart decided to throw them into the car too.

And of course, the first words out of Jamie's mouth are, "Beautiful Loop? On snowshoes?" Apparently, word on the street had it that snowshoes are needed, especially way out beyond the snowmobile trails that lead to the powerlines. While I am fairly confident I could have kept up (at least mostly :) ) with everyone on a normal day in good screwshoe conditions, I realized there is likely no way I am going to be able to run 15 miles on my snowshoes nor keep up with the fast crew that is assembling. But what the heck, I put on my snowshoes and we cross the street. I'll at least give it a try. And about three steps down the Link, they are gone. Damn. Well, that lasted long! HA! Sometimes it is just not so easy to try to keep up with the boys :)

For a while I tried to keep them in my sights, but then I realized I was going to have a much better run if I just settled into my own pace and enjoyed what really was a beautiful morning out in the woods. The sky was blue, there was no wind, the evergreens were topped with snow, the snowmobile trail was in pretty good shape and I was making fairly decent time. At mile 2 I had to stop and stuff my hydration hose into my jacket - the hose had frozen up in the cold weather despite my blowing air into it and filling it with hot water. Then I continued on until the 2nd road crossing at 3 miles and turned around. Sure, I could have kept going, but I haven't been out much on my snowshoes this season and I figured I'd be happier to finish up a strong 6 miles than to struggle through more. So back the way I came. Ended up with 6.2 miles in 1:06.

I knew Ryan and Sam wouldn't be coming over for a while, so I stopped quickly at the car to remove my snowshoes and my pack, grab a swig of water and have a gel, and then I went back out for a few more miles. But this time onto the road ;) Rt. 9 was pretty clear, and it was nice to just be in regular shoes with no screws and to not have a lot of crap to deal with at the side of the road. I ran out and back for a total of 4 miles.

Although I had intended to get in more miles this morning, in the end, I think it all worked out pretty well as I was able to join Ryan and Sam for a snowshoe hike in the park. By the time we headed out, it has warmed up significantly and it truly was lovely in the woods. We headed up the past the Quarry, wandering on a packed trail up through woods we don't normally wander through until we hit the Switchback and then the summit. Our return trip is via the Summit Trail. What a gorgeous morning to be out on the trails and in the snow! Sam did a great job, and it was a great hour outside together!

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