TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Near Fail

Last weekend I stashed water at the top of Maple Springs for a group run that I posted for today.  Turns out the weather was a bit cooler than the past few days.  Super good thing, being that we didn’t begin until 7:00 AM. 

Seven of us set off up Maple Springs Road to “Four Corners.”  I took up the back right away with aching shins and tight calves.  I stopped to stretch several times, to no avail.  The pain in both shins only worsened causing a constant stabbing as I made my way up the mountain alone. 

I thought to myself, “Well, this is a big FAIL.”  If it hadn’t been for the water stash, I would have turned around after two miles and driven home.  But, I wanted the other runners to know where the water was stashed just in case the weather really heated up and they needed it.  I know all too well the dilemmas of running out of water. 

I thought I might catch up with the rear of the group at three miles. 

No runners in sight. 

Five miles, no runners in sight. 

Well, dang it, I really didn’t think I could take the pain much longer, and it looked like I was never going to catch up with the group.  So, I flagged down a motorcyclist.  I asked him if he would relay a message to the next group of runners he came upon.  “I’m not going to make the loop.  I’m in pain.  Slow down or wait so I can reach you and tell you where the water is.”   (The message was actually shorter, but relayed the same info.Winking smile)

With the motorcyclist driving off, I felt great relief knowing I would turn around soon.  Within minutes Janine and Philip came hiking around the corner and exclaimed, “You weren’t that far back!  We were just up the way.”  What a fantastic sight to see these smiling trail runners.  By this time I was only two miles from “Four Corners,” and when I found out Janine and Philip weren’t doing the loop, but an out-and-back, I continued upward with the two.  Their company took my mind off the shins.

We made it to Four Corners with plenty of water to refill our packs.  I was surprised to see none of the other runners had waited.  I’ve done a group run on this loop several times and every time before, the group waited for everyone at “Four Corners.”  It’s not a rule or anything.  Just kind of an unspoken thing that didn’t happen today. 

More water for us, though I hoped the others wouldn’t run out.  They had a tough load ahead of them with no shade.  While taking in the views, two cyclists came up Harding Truck Trail and we shared our plentiful source of water with them while chatting and laughing over trail stories.

The 7.5 miles down Maple Springs was tough on my shins.  It wasn’t as painful, but still I experienced difficulty.  Philip and Janine would quickly get ahead, while I struggled to keep a decent pace.  They waited though every so often.  Each time I’d turn a corner to see one or the other waiting, it put a smile on my face. 

Ends up I got in 15 plus miles with friends, so it wasn’t so much a “Fail.”  In fact, I’d call it a success.  Good conversation, laughter and plenty of water.

Time to start working on my shins.  I’ve been running low mileage weeks lately.  Perhaps I increased my mileage too quickly.

Running Maple Springs out-and-back 7-7-2013, ElevationRunning Maple Springs out-and-back 7-7-2013

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