Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wild and Wonderful


    Recently while sitting in my parent's living room, I over heard my youngest sister on a phone conversation. The conversation did not seem so to go so well, upon hanging up she sorrowfully lets me know she will be heading back to school the following day at 1 pm. Now as a big brother I couldn't have this. She clearly did not want to go back 1 day early. So I swooped in with a plan in mind. You see, my sister attends school in West Virginia. Trail runner in training for 50k with a good bit of mountainous climbing and a sister in need of a ride to mountainous West Virginia. Not mention my cousin also lives in Morgantown. This plan seemed to be working out beautifully, I could stay on a couch and not in a college dorm room.

      The only set back is that my wife and I were set to go to a party, where it was sure to be the pre tapper steam blow off that I seem to be making a habit when training. I assure you, that is exactly what it turned out to be, and what a great time it was. Before we headed out to the party we did make sure to get in a nice 16 mile loop at a local trail, so feeling good about my self I let the kettle boil for as long as I could. The next day brought moms famous gravy and pasta with meatballs and sausage. This on top of the two hours left of moving furniture my dad and I did left next to nothing in the tank. So after several cups of coffee and a long personal debate weather or not to leave at 9 pm or the next morning at 3, I went to bed, where I laid wide eyed and tossing until 3. Then off we went as scheduled at 3:16 in the morning.

      Working on no sleep we finally made it to Morgantown, West Virginia and had breakfast at the Eat and Park(by the way I find this request of the restaurant pretty impossible, I would much rather park and then eat. Call me old fashioned if you like). I knew that I was planning on running shortly there after, planned... right? I had some mediocre at best, whole grain pancakes and egg substitutes, what could I have possibly expected? After a hard last hour of driving with the window down hoping that the mountain air would keep us awake, we arrived and I napped for two hours. I said my good byes and headed back to Morgantown. My cousin and I  tinkered with her car bit and finally by 4:30pm i was arriving at the Cooper's Rock State Park. I guzzled a G1 aka Gatorade Prime, and i was off with no clear map or direction.

     I started my run on the cross country ski trail. That little quarter mile stretch ended up at a three way intersection. Advanced cross country ski trail.... Tempting, a trail with no name, and the road side trail, which sounds boring but underneath that sign was another that read Cooper's Rock overlook 2.8 miles. Sounds good,  at least we have an overlook and 6 miles of trail running as a start. I headed down the road side trail feeling surprisingly good fueled on a G1 and 2 hours of sleep following a night of partying. The trail ran along the road of course, just as described. There were a good amount of climbs as one would expect on the way to an overlook. Once at the overlook, I paused for 5 minutes or so to take some photos. I love an overlook with a river running through the valley.

Being that this is a run and not a day hike i put away the Droid and stopped pondering the meaning of life and back tracked out to the road were I noticed a few other trail heads. I went with the most dangerous sounding one. The Rattlesnake Trail. This was by far my favorite trail it shot down below the overlook and climbed up just as quick through the rocks, and back on to a trail. By far some of the most technical running I have done, considering I was trying to keep a 10:00 minute mile going.

        This is the point where I have no idea where I ran but I got some amazing pic's. I believe I was on the ridge trail for a while, as well the eagle, rock city, a couple of places that were not blazed and the raven something for a short out and back. All of the trail was beautiful and I would say a great excuses to visit family or vise versa. This was that kind of trail run that brings out that internal music that you hear when all is good and you cant help but to grin from ear to ear. It is an experience you can only get out in the woods all alone with your internal mp3 player making songs you've never heard but that sound good. I passed a few people and over heard one of them say, "The air is so fresh and crisp up here", thats right and it cause all the gates in the park are locked and only the people who are willing to hike or run in are up here and from the looks of it, that is not many people. Thankfully for us, right? I had to write about this because it reminded me of a run in Little Rock that inspired me to start this blog in the first place. I think I forgot why I started it and this brought that back. So onward and forward with more running entries. Now its out the door for a light run. I have 9 days until the Terrapin 50k a part of the Beast series of trail running. I am hoping to beat last months 50k time of 6:20:14. Enjoy the pic's and Happy St. Patty's day. For more pic's follow the link

1 comment: