The sky was once again darkening as I sat there on my couch digesting my lunch and reading some articles from the latest Trail Runner magazine. I was planning to go for a run in about an hour but instead of reading anymore about someone else’s running journey’s I decided to let the foul weather create a journey of my own.
I had originally planned to do my long run for the week on this day, but the humidity levels were sky high and I still had the next day to grind out some long slow miles. Plus, I have been nursing a slight foot injury that I didn’t want to become any worse, so an extra day of relative rest should keep me on track for this fall’s upcoming races. Earlier in the day I had taken Wild out for a walk at Hedgehog Mountain after our dump run. Even though I hadn’t been running, and only walking at a quick hiking pace, my shirt was soaked with my sweat and Wild was breathing pretty heavy as he had spent most of the walk off leash and doing more miles than I. I did want to bring him on the run with me, but by the time we got home I figured that he had enough exercise for the day.
So I grabbed a shopping bag, my credit card and keys and darted for the mini-van as the sky had fully opened up, and I had left a window down. The rain the night before was just about as hard as this and I was pretty excited about running in the sheets of rain. As I pulled out onto Route One there was clearly lightning in the sky which gave me some second thoughts about this run. The rain couldn’t kill me over the course of a few miles, but the lightning certainly could. I doubled back to the Bow Street Market where I needed to pick up a few things for tonight’s dinner, as it was my responsibility to feed my wife, children and a friend of ours who would be joining us for dinner. By the time I got to the market the rain was coming down so hard that it reminded me of being in a car wash and I was just waiting for those big brushes to come along to try and dry the car. No luck with the brushes, so I bolted into the market getting drenched in the five seconds I was outside.
As best I could tell the lightning had stopped as I parked at Hedgehog once again. I gave my watch a couple minutes to pick up satellites while I sat in the car listening to more sports talk radio. There were no other cars there unlike this morning. I would have the trails all to myself. Usually you get this kind of solitude when it is raining over an inch an hour, which it was still doing. The puddles from last night were even deeper and soon my feet were totally saturated, and so was the rest of me even though the woods did give me a little shelter from the rain. I was moving nicely and feeling there was still plenty of humidity in the air, and for this I was glad to put off my long run.
There was no getting around most of the puddles and I had to use caution crossing over any wooden bridges. I began to wonder if people would think I was slightly deranged running through these woods in these conditions, especially since I was absolutely enjoying every moment of it. I was feeling too good to think about what others thought of me as my watch beeped that I had just passed my second mile.
I decided to go down a trail that leads to an old sand pit that I hadn’t been down in years even though I run and or hike here quite often. I was wanting to add some distance to my little run and this out and back would do just that. Once I got there, I realized why I didn’t come here very often as there wasn’t much there to enjoy. As I made my way back I noticed that a few things didn’t look familiar. Furthermore, when I ran through a cobweb I knew I must have gotten off the trail somehow otherwise that web wouldn’t be there. Soon I could see a couple backyards and the Pownal Road. I pulled a u-ie and soon found the spot where I had inadvertently turned off the main trail. It had only added a few minutes onto my run but it started me thinking more about my responsibilities as a parent. Both of my children are now going to school full time so even though I have this time during the week to go on these runs I still needed to make sure that I would be home in time, and in one piece in order to encourage their own paths of discovery.
I made my way along the Wentworth Trail and then over to the Summit Trail to climb up the steep side of the mountain. In the back round I heard some rumbling noises and wasn’t sure if it was more thunder or the sounds of cars on the nearby highway. I thought back to the trip my wife and I took to Colorado this summer, and when we went for a short hike up an unplanned summit. It was totally open and Mo was worried about some clouds in the distance and said I could go ahead to the summit while she made her way back to the car. I had been really ignorant of the potential weather dangers while she had decided that at least one of us should stay alive to parent our children. I was rewarded with some great views and a little running to catch up with her and fortunately none of the clouds ever delivered any dangers to us.
I got up the mountain without destroying my body, and yet keeping a decent pace and I looked forward to coming back down where I could open up my pace. I did slow down as a trotted over some wet exposed rock but then I was able to open up my pace as I desired. My feet slipped out from under me a couple of times but I was fortunate to keep my footing and soon began to recognize the patches of mud which were most perilous. Back onto the Wentworth again and my pace really increased, or should I say decreased, and I was joyous that I didn’t let weather keep me sitting at home.
My pace was back down as I knew I still had a long run to consider the next day and now would be a good time to keep the legs moving but at a recovery pace heading back to the car. Still, I kept an eye out for the slicker mud patches and bounded through the puddles. There were a couple more bridges that I had to use caution crossing, the last one which was just before the parking lot and as I looked down into the gully and saw the water moving rapidly I missed my kids as I knew it would have been a great time for us to play Pooh Sticks on the bridge.