Sunday, April 20, 2008
The best way to train for a trail race is to run trails. A truism, it would seem. So among the RUR "walking wounded" this weekend, Joel Shilliday and I took the last men standing award and went to Tuckahoe to do the abridged loop, to the tune of about 7.5 - 8 miles.
We fully expected to be running in the rain this morning, but the water gods slept in, and gave us a muggy 70 degree romp through dry trails. The horse gods, however, were in full effect. During the course of our loop, we passed between 15-20 folks on horseback, for whom you need to slow down and walk, lest you spook a horse, and make a bad situation for all involved. All were friendly, and it was fine sharing the trail today, with the equestrians, the fishermen, and one muddy borderline psychotic, who warned us of a water snake early in the run, and who we thought may have left a body in his wake behind him. If he did, it must have gone the way of the water snake, because we didn't find either.
Today was the first beat-the-heat day for us; it wasn't hard to break a sweat, and by the time we made it to the bottom of Turkey Hill for the famous creek/stream crossing, the cool water was like an ice-cold beer after cutting the grass. Multimedia Joel again busted out video, so look for a posting with as many as two crossings caught on film. And for our friend Wood Frog: there are no lily pads out there. She's every bit of waist deep. For those who enjoy the log crossing, scamper while you can. The boisterous Mr. Keene has guffaw'ed a threat that we might find a way to relocate the log, so there may, or may not, be a stealth, or noisy, extraction mission down Turkey Hill Trail, and said log may or may not reside at the Wood Frog's personal lily pad in Wittman before long :)
After the fun with cameras segment, and the cooling properties of waist-deep April water, we were fully recharged and mucked through the bog, zig-zagged through Little Florida, and then watched a bald eagle fly out ahead of us as made our way down Pee Wees Trail. I've been running back in Tuckahoe for a few years now, and that is the first bald eagle in flight I can recall seeing. A rare treat in a special place. If you haven't gone running back there, or mountain biking or hiking, I'd get back there before high tick and poison ivy season, which is just around the corner.
Joel treated himself to new kicks this week, and after a road run, creek crossing, bog stomping and single track stepping, I think he's got them ready to roll for Delaware. At the end of the run, coming down to cross the bridge, Joel kicked the after burners on and stepped up the pace, a full 7.5 miles (at least) after running hills. I think he is set to rock the Delaware Trail Dawgs 10K on Saturday. And with the gills Wood Frog is developing, as well as the scorching pace he blazed on the full loop last week, he will likely have a heavy-breathing, lactic acid-loaded triple crown on his noggin by day's end. As for the rest of us? Stay tuned. One way or another, my prediction will be something like: everyone getting muddy, everyone having fun. There's probably supposed to be a line about Wang Chung in there somewhere as well, but that just doesn't make good trail running theme music ;)