Monday, October 24, 2011

Mud, Sweat, and Gears at the KT

Yesterday, Kevin and I had to make the 2 1/2 hour drive back up to East Burke, Vermont to meet with the guy selling us his cabin. We went early so we could spend some time on the Kingdom Trails (KT) first. I expected Kevin to take off on his bike while I ran the trails and we would meet up later. But when I told Kevin I wanted to run the trails nearer the mountain to see what they were like, he decided to escort me on the bike. These trails aren't as well maintained nor as well used as the other single track. They were very slippery due to wet leaves and mud. I was glad to be running and not riding!

We started out with about 5 miles of pretty steady climbing over greasy trails. With these types of conditions, I had an easy time keeping up with Kevin on his bike. It was good hard steady work for both of us and my legs were feeling it at the top. Honestly, if it wasn't for Kevin's company I would have walked some of the climb. After the steady climb, there were a lot of rolling hills. Mcgills fields were flatter and less muddy, but then we entered the woods again. We hit a lot of mud on the Frost Hill Trail. We later learned that this trail isn't maintained for biking any more. That would explain why it was completely churned up with moose prints and the bridges were rotted and dangerous for the bike. I was very careful with my footing, but managed to fall once anyway.

Since starting to run against the advise of my surgeon, I have continuously drilled into myself that "if I slip or trip I absolutely will not put out my left arm to catch myself!" And I guess this self brain washing worked, because when I went down I let my left arm dangle and flop wherever it wanted to go and I tried to stop myself with my right arm only. I landed mostly on my chest and abdomen, but my right arm did prevent my face from going into the mud. My left arm was sprawled comfortably at my side with my left hand under my hip. I knocked the wind out of myself, which always feels like Hell. I also bruised my left pinky finger. But that was it! I was pretty amazed that conditioning myself to protect my left shoulder worked even though I hadn't had time to give it any thought as I fell.

By the time we crossed the road and started the easier and flatter White School Trail to head back to town, we had already covered about 8 or 9 miles of mud and hills. I was supposed to incorporate 30 minutes at tempo pace on this run, but I started reasoning with myself. "Heck, all that mud and all that climbing has to equal more than thirty minutes of tempo." But now that the trail was not muddy and not technical and not steady climbing, Kevin was starting to ride out ahead and then stop and wait for me to catch up. I didn't want to make his ride completely void of fun, so I picked up the pace and soon found myself running my thirty (plus) minutes of tempo after all.

It really was a great work out. Misery loves company, but with Kevin's company there really wasn't much misery. Despite the messy conditions, hills, and a fall, I enjoyed it!

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