Friday, February 27, 2015

Pretty Darn Great

I know I am pretty darn lucky to have (most) Fridays off to run, get stuff done, volunteer in Sam's classroom and do the things that don't get done the rest of the week, etc. And today, I was even luckier to be able to spend 3+ hours out on the trails at Bradbury, running 18 miles. And even better, in screwshoes! Hurray.

Ryan was nice enough to hang with Sam this morning so I could get an early start, so I hit the trails a few minutes after 7:00 am. It was in the single digits but no wind and the sun was out, so it really was pretty comfortable once my hands warmed up (which took about a mile). I had on one of Ryan's vests over my hydration pack so the hose wouldn't freeze and it worked pretty well, except that with my big gloves it was tough to access the hose and my gels. I headed out onto the snowmobile trail, enjoying the dry snow crunching underneath my feet. It was decent running, although a little more churned up than I would have liked, which meant I had to work a bit harder than I would have liked too. The trails and the woods were quiet, although I did see a lot of deer activity and some great turkey prints out in the corn fields. It was there that I was also scared half to death by a pair of black labs (presumably the ones Val knows) who were friendly but who I really didn't want running with me. After a few minutes of standing still, they turned back around and I continued on to the powerlines. I ran for a few minutes along the lines themselves, but I most certainly do not know the Beautiful Loop well enough to even think about wanting to run it solo, so I turned around when the Garmin beeped 5 miles and headed back to the park.

Back at the parking lot, I stopped at the aid station (car) to change my shirt, hat and gloves (sweaty and getting cold because of it) and have a snack before continuing on. Although the snowmobile trail was nice, I wasn't digging it enough to do another out-and-back, so I decided to try out the mountain side. And I am very happy I did - it was great running over there! I ran up the Ski Trail and the Northern Loop trail to the summit, stopping at the top to take in the sparkling light on the ocean in the distance, then took the Boundary Trail. Now, I do not have much love for the Boundary Trail, but I have to say that today, it was awesome. It was perfectly packed and I was running it in the opposite direction we normally would, which meant it was mostly downhill and I was just having so much fun.

I saw that the Connector was well tracked, so decided, what the heck. Lovely out there as usual. I was surprised to find that, near the junction with the Tryon trails, the trail was groomed and the grooming continued both up the mountain toward the Feldspar Quarry and down toward Lawrence Road. Since I've never gone right at the junction before, once again, I said, what the heck. Well, this was not a stretch friendly to wildlife recently. It appeared that the groomer had run over a skunk :( and then right past the Quarry, there was a full, fairly new, deer carcass in the middle of the trail. I'm assuming it had been dragged out into the open, but I did not wish to get close enough to find out for sure. And of course, right then, my Garmin beeped, as it does every half hour, which means "time to eat!" HA! Yes, such good timing ;) If the carcass hadn't been there, I probably would have continued on the groomed trail just to check it out, but instead, I turned around and headed down the hill to the road.

The sun was shining, the trail was groomed and I had more miles to run, so I headed up the trail to the field, where I did a small loop following the groomer tracks and then back to Lawrence, retracing my steps back to the park. There, I turned left on the Boundary trail and then up the Northern Loop Trail to go back up to the summit. At the top, I saw two snowshoers, the first people I had seen on the west side of the park. Since the Boundary Trail was so much fun the first time around, and it would bring me back to the parking lot with 18 miles run, I decided to do another loop. I was certainly feeling the time and miles a bit more the second time around, but I stand by my thought that it was indeed an awesome trail to run today.

Saw the snowshoers finishing up their hike, and the older gentleman said to the woman, "1:02, not bad!" I made some small talk with them, and he said, "So what? You were out for 25 minutes or so? How'd you get back so fast?" I laughed, and said, "Well, actually, I hate to say this, but I've been out for over three hours," to which, he signed and said, "Well, that doesn't make me feel so good about our hour!" HA! :) Ended up with 18 miles in 3:20 moving time (3:34 total time), and very happy indeed. Hard to beat a beautiful morning spent running in the woods!

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