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Around mile 8 of a very, very muddy 14'ish mile Pennsylvania trail race I pulled off the ultimate Superman fall and landed on my head. I had been tucked in behind a girl who was holding a good pace through some narrow single-track. I can remember thinking how great it felt to finally stretch the legs out a bit and to not be slogging through mud. Maybe, I thought, I can recover enough stamina through these woods to feel a bit racy on the second half of this course. I had heard someone say the mud wasn't as bad on the backside. Most of Pennsylvania has had a pretty soggy May and we were no exception. 2+ inches over average and only 20 days in. I knew it would be sloppy but I wasn't quite thinking bog after bog of ankle- and sometimes knee- deep mud. At one point I had so much mud on my shoes they stopped draining and my toes were in a fishbowl for a bit. Anyhoo, here i was running making plans for an epic 2nd half of the race when in slow motion- I start the fall. It's so true that these things happen in complete slow-motion. I think I hit a stupid little root barely peeking out of the dirt. Full sprawl. There were about 5 or so ladies behind me so I quickly rolled to the side of the trail, took a quick inventory and told them to go ahead- I was fine. "um, honey... no you are bleeding. From your head." That's when I noticed the drops of blood raining down. Crap. Being trail runner folks, they quickly went to work rooting through packs and belts looking for paper towels, TP and tissues to press on the 1 inch gash in my scalp. They refused to leave me and we hiked to the next aid station, a little over a mile away before they continued on their way. I got checked out there and the bleeding started to slow down and not long my RB Sue caught up to us. She is faster than me but DOES NOT like getting her feet wet nor does she really like to race so I was pretty sure she was somewhere behind me grumbling. By this point I was pretty sure that I didn't have any neurological issues and could continue but by now my "race" was over and Sue and I agreed out of caution we would just hike the rest of the way in. Amazingly after miles of muck, we still had a great time hiking our way to the finish, wondering if were were last (we weren't) and wishing for handsome cowboys to ride by on their horses and offer to carry us away (none out there). That's me on the left. There might be some blood and dirt on my cheek but not to shabby after all that +14 miles. Today I am sore sore sore. My neck and back are tender, probably from the fall. My cut wasn't super deep and scabbed up nicely. It's hidden in my hairline. I've got some lovely bruises on my right palm along with some bruising and abrasions on my right elbow. Considering the alternative- serious head injury, needing to be med-evac'ed out of the woods, knocking out teeth... I am one lucky trail runner. On to the next adventure!
Trail running really started one summer when I just couldn't stand running on hot pavement through hot air while the hot sun beat down on me. Even though my closest trail system was on top of a mountain with no cell service I felt I had little choice and OH SO CAREFULLY trained myself to run on trails. I was terrified of rolling an ankle and breaking something as the sun set, my DH (non-runner) would never find me in time and the healthy population of black bears would have me as a substantial meal. I split my time between the trails and roads depending on time of day, mileage and weather. Around this time last year one of my running buddies introduced me to her running buddies and a running crew as born. We trained for a 5 miler that we ran together last December. After that race we all agreed that we really enjoyed each other's company on our Sunday afternoon jaunts and wanted more. All winter long we met on Sunday's, no matter the weather, and ran all kinds of fun trails. We trained for a ridiculous race in May (Hyner) requiring massive climbs and learning to descend with no regard for ones own life. We were appreciating what a beautiful area we live in- ESPECIALLY in winter (this was last year on the Loyalsock Trail): On Saturday, we got to run a race on more of these beautiful, cold Pennsylvania trails. I'm just getting over a wicked case of peroneal tendinitis so I chose to run the 10K race while my crew ran the half. The temps on top of the hill hovered around 13 balmy degrees at the start. YIKES! It's been since February that I've run in temps that cold! But I was ready in tights, long-sleeve tech t, vest and headband-ear warmers. No gloves or heavy coat needed- even though it was super cold there was no wind and the sun was out. I will admit it took a full mile before I could feel my fingers but after that I was fine. This 10K course is extremely runnable- mostly double-track or wide single track. Sections of technical stuff but it's not extreme and does not last long. The worst is the last mile and a half which is all downhill but goes through an oak forest. You really can get some speed up but the trail was completely covered in leaves. Because it's my bread-and-butter trail- I KNOW what roots and rocks lurk under those leaves- totally stressful in fun sort of way? This was not the fastest time I've ever had on this trail, but it was good enough for 4/18 in my AG so I'm really happy considering the extent of my tendinitis earlier this year. My hips were a little tight, and I didn't have my shoes tied tight enough so I've got some callous blood blister issues to deal with so I'm also happy with the choice to run the 10K instead of the half. After I finished I changed out of my gear into warmer clothes- I checked the parking lot but there is a chance someone got a very good look at my anatomy- and headed back up the trail dragging coats and gear for my RBs. Everyone was happy with their times and we headed to the local bar for snacks and lots of hard cider! I am so happy that I'm healthy going into this winter- my favorite running season. Get out there and enjoy the cold! Sure love our new home- so much easier to post pics.