So I am 100k training, and getting ready to do a 6 week trip across the nation, trail running my way to WA and back. So I feel comfortable saying that my training is pretty serious these days. Haha. THAT BEING SAID, I want to enjoy my training, be flexible and enjoy my runs. And after a seriously craptastic Friday that had me internally at level 9 temper status by 4 pm... I needed miles and relaxation. So that, my friends, is exactly what I did!
Saturday Morning: Stacey picked me up and we drove out to Moraine State Park. I love running out there. It is a fairly technical trail with a few decent climbs, but nothing excessive. It has some great patches of rocks and roots that allow you to get some nice foot work in, and some very pretty views. It is about an hour drive from the city, so it is an easy trip to make.
Goal is 10 miles, just an easy out and back. She had done her Gate to 19 a few days before, and I had done 7 the day before on hills and had a big weekend ahead, so we wanted to keep it easy. So we loaded our packs and cooling towels and set off,
***Now I would like to make a side note here... This year the Pittsburgh marathon and Dicks sporting goods sent out runner boxes to runners who earned enough points (it was like super easy to get the points) and one item inside was this cooling towel. OMG, this thing is the best thing since the creation of gelato... for real! You get it wet, snap it and it keeps you cool. When it warms up, you snap it again, and it gets cool again. LIFE SAVER in hot weather! *****
Being memorial day weekend we saw a lot of hikers, a few runners, and some dogs out on the trails. We said hi and chatted with all of them, enjoying the camaraderie of sharing the trails. My favorite was the troupe of kids coming through with their parents. Kids ranging from 5-10 out enjoying nature. Props to you parents, Props to you!
We did an easy out and back, stopping at the mid way point to grab some nutrition and the necessary selfie (feel free to judge, lol). Since we are in the same profession there was some shop talk, and then some race talk, and then just good ole fashioned girl gossip. No stress, no pace pushing, just enjoying each others company over 10 miles and 1300 feet of elevation gain- Done.
We finish our run, give ourselves a baby wipe bath in the bathroom so we don't stink too bad on the way home, head out and back to the city. Once I get home, I take Waylon out for his long walk and then get ready for Sunday. (I do believe I need to do a whole separate blog on getting ready for a long trail run. It's coming!)
Sunday: 4:45 am.. alarm goes off UGH! It is sooooo early! Okay Okay, I'm up. Coffee- check, Oatmeal-check, Walked dog- check. Have all running bags- check. Gps coordinates to the meeting spot- check. What am I forgetting? It has to be something.. I never get out the door on the first try.. .like ever. Welp, Oh well. Gotta go.
6:00- in the car and out the door. 1.5 hour to Laurel Highland Hiking Trail. Today we are doing a point to point run, Gate (which is the starting point for the trail) to mile 19. We will leave a car at the top and the bottom.
7:30, get there. Shortly after Jeramy shows up. He gets his pack together since we are leaving his truck and then we drive down the start. I get my pack together and all settled with sunscreen and bug spray (I got eaten alive during the week when I Forgot that... never again!) and off we go.
Today is not about pace, it is about enjoying the miles. It is 68* at the start with 95% humidity. Glad I brought my 2 Liter Nathan bladder. I am going to need it. We head out, stopping for photo's when we see something pretty, sometimes running together and chatting, and sometimes running apart and just enjoying the quiet. Like yesterday, we see a lot of hikers, runners, and dogs out on the trail and we greet everyone one of them.
At one point we hit a muddy spot (please remember... blood, guts, snakes, roots, ... all those things, I have no issue with... I. Hate. Mud). Well, Jeramy has never witnessed the princess mud act before, and when he sees it, he reacts in a way I should have figured, he picks up a clump and throws it at me. Jerk.
My favorite part though was when we hit the steep downhill switch backs, we FLEW down them. Hands up and shifting for balance, watching the rocks and roots carefully, braids straight back with the force of movement. Laughing the whole way! Man was it was fun.
At about mile 9 we came upon a boulder pile. I stopped and climbed it. No hurry, no rush, just climbing some boulders. Take a photo and we are on our way. Shortly after we came upon a couple out hiking. And we scared the living shit out of them! hahahahahahah. Real Talk- Pay attention people! You are in the friggin mountains... there are bears and snakes and shit. Don't tune out! Mile 11 we came on a pretty water fall. I was out of water, so I rock hopped (very successfully...unlike other people I was running with...ahem.) to the base then to the top. I refilled my bladder in the falls, then enjoyed the peace and quite of the moment.
At this point, we continued on our run and fell into a quite companionship as we ran. You know the kind where it is just calm. We ran into a cool looking black snake out sunning himself on the trail. We very respectfully waited for him to cross over and then continued on our way. We crossed numerous bridges over creeks and falls. We wound through forest and a small meadow. We stopped and greeted every dog ( I can't help myself) and compared dog running strategies. We eventually finish up the last steep hill of the day and then out and back to get our full mileage. Grab some water and fruit we have in the cooler and we drive down to the start, shower, eat and head back to the city. I can't speak for Jeramy, but I know that run was exactly what I needed to decompress from the stress of the week. 19. 2 miles and 4500 of elevation gain- Done.
Get home, eat, walk the dog,set the alarm and to bed.
Monday morning. 5 am. Alarm goes off UGH! 2 days in a row.... UGHHHHHHH. Okay, I'm up I'm up. Coffee- check, Oatmeal-check, Running bag- check, dog supplies-check. Grab Waylon and out the door.
First Stop, Pumped to Run. This is a non-profit that is bringing running to the homeless community of Pittsburgh. I know our guys are going to be waiting on us. So we get to the shelter, grab our guys and get about 3 miles all together. Say my goodbye's, see you on Friday's and Waylon and I head to North Park.
Now it has been fairly dry here, so I know that Waylon won't have a lot of natural water sources. And I stupidly think my one 20 oz bottle will be enough for the both of us. Lets just say, Waylon got about 90% of my ice cold water. I love my dog! We did about 7 more miles. Waylon was dragging by the end, because it is 70* and humid. We went nice and slow at his pace, but by time we are done all he wants to to hang his head out the car window and eat treats! But he is a trooper and finishes strong, tail wagging, and tongue lolling.
I finished up my weekend with a little over 39 miles in 3 days and a little over 6000 feet of elevation gain. I can honestly say I wasn't sore, but was tired. Actually I was a worthless lump on my couch for the rest of the day on Monday... totally watched a full season of Top Chef. This weekend and these laid back runs were exactly what I needed to decompress from a stressful week. Time away, no pressure, no rush, just peace, quiet and nature.
So whether you are pushing for pace, or just running to relax, Happy Running!