Sonofabitch

**Disclaimer: Yeah, yeah, yeah I know I shouldn’t have hiked/run the mountain.  However, some things in life are worth it and this is one of them.  I wound up coming home, taking a shower, taking extra asthma meds, and crashing for 2 plus hours.  I will pay for this, but totally worth it.**

0400 this morning my alarm went off and I bounded out of bed.  I can hear you now, why in the hell would you bound out of bed at 0400?? I was going to go climb mountains.  More importantly I was finally going to get to show Sainted Mary Shenandoah!

0500 I was on the road making the two hour trek out to the mountains.

IMG_58150650 We both pull into the parking lot having basically followed each other the last 15 miles to the park.  As she got out of the car my jaw hit the floor.  She was in shorts.   It was 40 degrees at the base of the mountain and the top is always at least 10 degrees cooler.  I relayed this to her.  Thus started the “Sonofabitch” hike.  As she attempted to call her husband to let her know we got there I let her know that we probably weren’t going to have signal until we got up the mountain a bit.  We took a proof of life selfie, though, that I promised her we’d send him later.  This btw is why I normally hike with my spot device it let’s my loved ones know I’m ok.  However, it only seems to work when you turn it on (oops).

0700 We rolled out of the parking lot.  We were within the first 5 cars in the parking lot.  This is why we were starting early.  I joked with her that we should enjoy the quiet because in a few hours the mountain was going to be crawling with a two types of people: 1.) The “let’s take Mom for a hike” people even though Mom never hikes and would much rather be at home taking a nap or 2.) The “I’m taking the kids out to the mountains” also known as “Dad has no idea what he’s doing” with all the Dad’s who brought the kids out to the mountains, alone, so that Mom could have some peace.

We hit the rock scramble and ran into a couple of 20 something guys who were obviously struggling a bit. “They don’t have mountains where we are from.”

“Oh yeah, where’s that?”

“Florida.”

I snickered.  They followed us for a little while, but in the end I think the combination of a heavy nights drinking and the elevation just slowed them way down because they didn’t keep up.

Mary popped into the lead and immediately headed off course.  “Um, where are you going the course goes that way.” (points to blue blaze going in opposite direction and straight up)

“Sonofabitch.”

We laughed.

IMG_3983As we ascended the mountain the clothes that we had taken off at lower levels came back on.  I think I must have taken on and taken off my layers at least 7 times as we traversed different climate zones.  As we neared the top the temperature bottomed out.  Then we came around the corner and got pushed forcefully back onto the rocks.  The wind was hollowing.

SONOFABITCH!

There was definitely no lingering at the top to enjoy the view today.  As we headed back down to the trail split to take the fire road back Florida boys were finally summiting.

IMG_3003Mary and I headed jogging down the trail that leads to the fire road.  The creeks were raging due to all the rain we’ve had in the last couple of days.  We stopped at one of them and washed the salt off of our faces.  As the trail widened, ultimately turning into the actual fire road only then did we start to see any people.  First it was a trickle but by the time we crossed the last bridge before the pavement to the parking lot a deluge.  As we jogged past them in my head I was sorting them by type.  Mary turns to me and says, “You were so right.”

IMG_43141100 Parking lot.  We were both rungry.  After a quick change of clothes and shoes for me (and a “I need to plan better.” comment from Mary) we were off to lunch.  Yeah it was a good day.

Advertisements

Bad asthmatic! Bad! 

Final week of classes! Hooray! However final week of classes means I’m stressed out. I’ve been super good this pollen season trying to not over do it. After almost getting my tush admitted last year this year I’m trying to be super well behaved. Ok, well behaved for me. 

Today I needed a run. Badly. The tree pollen has been off the charts for weeks now. I’ve been feeling like a caged animal. As much as I love my other forms of cross training I missed the dirt and woods. I was getting my allergy shot this morning anyway, so I figured if I was going to run I needed to do it before my shot and not after. 

I knew it was going to be bad when a mile in I felt my chest get tight. Crap. I was doing this run. Two miles in and I finally broke down and took my inhaler. By the time I hit the car I knew I was in trouble. Dammit. It was only 3 miles. Come on lungs get your shit together. 

When I showed up at my allergy appointment I’m always required to do a spirometer test.  That’s where you blow into a tube and it measures how much air your moving. My normal read is 550. That’s a great number. Today I blew a 490. For those that are statistically inclined that’s an 11% decrease in function in “just” 3 miles.  Totally worth it. Happy runner. Bad asthmatic. 

Just like Pooh

Knowing that the trails were going to be stupid sloppy and wanting to get some time in with Pinup Ginger we arranged a meeting spot half way between her house and mine.  Ten minutes before my alarm was set to go off I got a text message that said, “My son was up twice with accidents in the night.  I’ve gotten no sleep and I’m exhaaaaaaasted.”  Poor thing.  I was not about to drag a tired mama out on a run she would be miserable on.  However, I had been dreaming all night about running along the river so I was going no matter what the GD pollen count was.

As I drove towards Old Town I realized that I forgot my watch.  I wear it religiously as it keeps me honest about the calories I earn.  I didn’t even consider turning around and getting it.  The pollen has been awful and I wasn’t even sure how the run today was going to go.  All I knew is that I needed this run, badly.

I wanted to get at least 6, if not 8 miles in today so I parked in front of M.E. Swings.  That way I would have incentive to run both directions, down towards Jones Point (my favorite spot in all of the DMV) and back to coffee and Rise Bakery gluten free baked goods.  I set Strava to record and started off.

As my feet started to move my brain began to be like Pooh.

I thought about all of the school work I had yet to do.  I thought about everything that I need to get done before my internship.  I thought about how I probably shouldn’t be running and hoped that I wasn’t going to give myself hives.  I thought about one more thing and then with that thought my brain went quiet.  I like it when that happens.  It’s rare, but it’s so peaceful.

As I headed towards Jones Point the river was bulging out of its banks with the rain and the high tide.  The trail was awash with debris, natural and man made, from the river.  I like Old Town early in the morning, the only other people I encountered were other runners.  We waved at each other as we passed.  As I hit Jones point there is always this wave of quiet that washes over me. I don’t know why that spot, tucked almost right under the Woodrow Wilson bridge carrying 8 lanes of traffic is always so spiritually peaceful.  I stopped, took a couple of photos and headed back towards food!

img_2907I had completely forgot that on Saturday mornings Old Town does their farmers market. The flowers drew me in.  There was no way any produce was going to survive a 3 mile run back to the car, but I stopped and smelled the peonies.  Glorious!  So many flowers have had the smell bred out of them for looks.  Maybe that’s why I like them so much.  They are flamingos in a flock of pigeons.

The last mile or so more people were on the streets.  It wasn’t me and my fellow runners any more.  As I reached M.E. Swings I smiled because I knew that there was going to be gluten free deliciousness in my future.  I stopped Strava and didn’t give it another thought after I saw my mile count as all I was focused on was coffee (and food).  One blueberry muffin and a latte later I opened it up just to see how I did.  I wasn’t running for any other reason than to run.  I saw not one but two sub 8 minute miles.  Wha???  How is that possible?  Even stopping to take pictures and enjoy my time on Jones point I still averaged a 9 something mile.  Huh.  Must be the shoes I think they have rocket boosters.

Oh, PS, I did learn a very valuable lesson today, do not look down at herringbone brick work when you run, it makes you nauseous.