Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bear Brook Fun

I did a walk/jog at Bradbury with Scout on Monday, while Kevin enjoyed some good, slippery mountain biking there. During this outing, I worked out some of the kinks involved with running trails with a painful and immobilized left arm. By Tuesday, I was ready for some serious trail running so we drove over to Bear Brook State Park.

Before starting out, I attached my upper arm, just below the shoulder, to my torso with a wide, padded, Velcro strap. Along with the big complicated sling that I have to wear all the time, this kept my left arm completely immobile. I tried jumping up and down in the parking area to be sure. It was as if my arm and torso were fused together. And what if I tripped? No way could I reach out with that left arm, I'd have to save myself with one arm or land on my face in the dirt. The shoulder was completely safe! Look, I do not want to have to go through this again, I'm being careful.

The published map of Bear Brook State Park that the park service hands out has been around since the seventies. It is obviously inaccurate and incomplete. I have heard from a very reliable source that a current and accurate map has been made and submitted, but for some reason never published and put into circulation. I guess that's government bureaucracy at work. Anyway, I've been on these trails lots of times on the bike and a few times on foot, but always as a follower. This day I was setting out on my own. I had Kevin go over the turns and land marks of the loop I wanted to make, then I had him draw up a crude map, just to play it safe. I was off!

Although my surgery was only on my shoulder, it has effected my overall well being to an unbelievable extent. I blame this on all the medications (toxins) that were introduced to my body... powerful IV antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, anti-histamines, anesthesia, amnesiacs, pain medications (including Fentanyl, Dilaudid, and Oxycodone), anti-emetics (I puked anyway)...all before even leaving the hospital. My head has been fuzzy ever since! I urinated every hour for about 36 hours after getting home as my body tried to rid itself of all that stuff. My sweat still smells like medicine 4 days later! Anyway, the point is that I can run fine, but still have to take walk breaks frequently in order to keep my vision focused and my head clear. But I found myself having a lot of fun and feeling extremely happy to be out in such a beautiful area on such a gorgeous day.

I ran down Little Bear, up part of Salt Lick to the sand pit, and onto Hemlock. Hemlock is a beauty of a trail, with lots of little climbs and descents. Just after crossing a little bridge at the bottom of a hill, I heard the whirring sound of a mountain biker coming downhill behind me at a fast pace. I recognized the sound of the bike before I could even see it through the trees and called out to Kevin, "hey, I know that bike." Kevin and I stopped for a minute to say hi, but then moved on at our own paces. I crossed the paved park road onto Pitch Pine, then Broken Boulder. I paused to look for the Bobcat Trail. Again I heard the familiar sound of Kevin's bike and asked without looking, "excuse me sir, is this Bobcat?" And he replied as he rode by, "what'd you say? You lost your bobcat?" and kept going. We met up several times throughout our journeys, although I was only running about 6 or 8 miles and Kevin was riding about three times as far.

I found my turn for Bobcat and had a nice long cruise back to Haye's Field. There, I set up my camp chair and sat in the shade waiting for Kevin for another hour or so, completely contented. I don't have to be one hundred percent fit and healthy to be happy. I just have to get outdoors and expend a little energy. I think I'm going to get through this recovery process just fine!

I commented on a fellow runner-mountain biker's Blog that a good way to learn the biking trails at Bear Brook is to attend NembaFest. I didn't want to plug on someone else's Blog so I'll do it here in case any of you mountain biking runners are interested. Nemba Fest is a completely non-competitive event so leave your race attitudes at home and go have some fun.

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