- ran on some dirt trails, peed in the woods, got a mosquito bite (on my butt), forded a river twice, tripped and rolled like a stunt man, and cut 10 minutes off of my last 10 mile time
This whole adventure started because my friend Heather (a.k.a Bebe), who is a PA, verbally assaulted me for not varying the surface that I run on. You know these medical types, always telling runners that they are going to blow their knees out in ten years. Once (years ago) I even had a doctor tell me that I shouldn't run because it's "bad for your knees". Maybe they're right but the alternative for me is being a couch potato so I'm going to stick with running, thanks. Anyway, while running on my usual trail I spied a very inviting dirt trail that appeared to travel parallel to the paved one. At the same time, there was a guy in my area that I couldn't seem to lose. Normally people pass me and I never see them again, I tell myself this is because they end at one of the trail heads while I keep going. Anyway, the combination of losing this guy and telling Bebe that I ran on dirt practically made the decision for me. I veered off into the unknown! I was having so much fun and feeling so good that I forgot about my walk breaks, I hoped that I wouldn't regret this daydreaming at mile 7. The dirt trail met up with the paved one and I was at a crossroads. Of course Frost was in my mind telling me to take the path less traveled. The only problem was that there was a steep muddy embankment to travel down and a river to ford. On the plus side someone had strategically placed rocks as a make-shift bridge and there was a stick going over the quagmire of muck. I went for it! I tip-toed around the muddiest parts, hanging onto trees (the stick sunk when I stepped on it) and got to the river. Now, I have crossed many a river in my days of hiking, and the trick is to make sure the rocks are stable before you put all of your weight on them. It was a success! I was over the river! I was having a blast. Unfortunately, near one road crossing the path merged with the macadam once again. This is where I realized that it is much faster to shuffle on pavement than dirt. duh
It was around mile 3 something or other that I really had to pee. I just couldn't hold it. Back to my hiking experience, I have no problem going to the bathroom in the woods, what did concern me was that a fellow jogger or cyclist would wander by. The tree cover is not that great yet and visibility is pretty good. But, there was no way I could hold it for another 4 miles until I got back to the bathrooms in the park. I walked way into the woods and found a fallen tree with another tree in front of it which seemed to provide good coverage. I did my business and was back on the trail jogging in record time. This is when I realized that I had a stupid mosquito bite! That's what I get for peeing in the woods.
I became a little sluggish at mile 5 but my GU perked me right up. The trail was getting fairly crowed and I had two different runners tell me "good job" which I found a little strange. Not bad, just weird. On the way back I debated not taking the dirt trail. I was getting tired and didn't feel like dealing with any surprises. Ultimately I chose to go back the exact way I came; basically because I did not want to mess with my mileage. I had already stopped my watch on the pee break and forgot to start it again for like 5 minutes. I was mentally somewhere in la la land when I TRIPPED. It happened so fast but for some reason the thought that I could not fall on my knees popped into my head. I put my heads down and somehow sprung off of them to roll onto my butt. Crisis averted due to my awesome stuntman-like skills. In reality I most likely appeared to be a weirdo rolling in the dirt. I want to say that my fall was due to a rock but I think I really just stumbled from poor shuffling. Whatever the reason I came away unscathed and was back to the river which I crossed like a pro.
My run was sadly coming to an end. I felt great the entire time. I guess all of the swimming and scaling back my mileage due to vacation really helped. I felt like saying I did an "easy" 10 miles. It was not until my run was almost over that I pushed some buttons on my watch and realized that I had gone faster than the last time I did 10. I was shocked. I ended up going an entire 10 minutes faster! That just made the run even better. What a blessing to run an easy 10 on a beautiful day!