Monday, September 28, 2009
Shoelaces, a rock and the dogs Part 2
I was unfortunately unable to get back to this until now. So last Tuesday I went for a run in Vermont up Mt Kearsarge and over the top, running a total of around 9 miles in three hours. Carol dropped me off at the trail head on Hurricane Mountain Road at 9:30. The day was humid but relatively cool. Waking up that morning the temp was in the low 40's. The sun was in and out among the clouds with a slight breeze blowing through the trees. I threw on the back pack with the water bladder in it, kissed Carol good-bye and headed up the trail. If you have ever hiked or run in the White Mountains, you know that the trails are loaded with rocks and roots, which can make for a interesting run. The trail started going up right away, with it being runnable for a bit. As the grade got higher I settled into a good paced hike, keeping my eyes on the trail for the best line to go up. Fifteen minutes into it, I started hearing voices. I caught up with a group of ten hikers of various ages headed up the mountain. I greeted them and continued on my way. About five minutes later I felt my left shoe lace loosen. Now I wear Salomon trail shoes that have a slide on the laces and the laces with the slide gets tucked in the pouch on the tongue. I have never had any problem with them before. I looked down to see what the problem was and the lace had broken! I have never had a lace break during a run. Mostly they break when you are tightening them. So the lace had worked its way out of most of the eyelets, making for a problem putting it back in. I finally, with the use of a twig from the ground, was able to put it back into one of the eyelets. I decided that that was the only one I was going to thread it through and just tied it off at the bottom of the laces and pulled it tight. It felt comfortable and did not feel loose on my foot. I could hear the group that I passed drawing nearer, but could not see them yet. It had taken me about ten minutes to fix that and I was anxious to continue on my journey. The trail continued to be steep with plenty of loose rocks and the roots of trees popping up off the ground trying to draw my toes under them so as to send me flying. I was sweating pretty good due to the high humidity, but felt pretty good. I was making sure that I took a good swig of water every 15 minutes or so. An hour into the run, I crested the mountain. There is a climbable forest fire lookout tower at the top. It is bolted into the rock crag at the top and provides an awesome 180 degree panarama. I was regretting not taking the camera with me. I spent less than five minutes looking around and headed down the other side. The trail markings up to this point had been pretty good, with the trail not having too much deviation. But going down the other side, the trail became harder to see (in certain places) and the yellow markers were far fewer (or at least seemed to be). I was running more, with breaks to climb down the really steep patches. Ten minutes into this downhill, the shoe lace on my RIGHT foot loosened. What do you know!! The shoelace had broken! I immediately stopped and was able to grab it so that it only went through one eyelet. Who has ever had two shoelaces break during a run? At least I was able to minimize the damage and get back to running within five minutes. As the slope leveled out a bit, the ground got a bit mushier, with a small lake/pond that looked to be prime moose sighting territory. As luck would have it, I had no luck. Since I had no camera, it would not have mattered. At this point I really had a problem with finding the trail. It seemed to disappear into the mush and I could not see where it came out. There was no markings on the trees. I turned around and headed back to see if I might have missed something. I found the tree with the last yellow blaze and I had not missed anything. Back to the mush I went and started looking around for any indication of where to go. Along the edge of the mush, I noticed what looked like a footprint in the goo. I followed the edge of the goo, stepping on exposed roots around to some large ferns that I found out, when I pushed my way through, covered the trail and hid it from view. For the next thirty minutes, the trail would go for a bit and then disappear from view, hiding under the brush and growth that overhung it. The trail was on a pretty continuous downward slant with mud and water interspersed among some pretty runnable conditions. I came upon a rock garden with plenty of good sized boulders among the ankle turners. As I ran through, I stepped to the right to go between two boulders and brought my left foot up and ran it right into the left boulder! My knee solidly connected with the rock, causing the trees to blush from what came out of my mouth. It felt like, along with the pain from the impact, to numb a portion of my left quad. I knew that if I stopped it would tighten up and would be very difficult to keep going. So with blood running down my shin, I hopped and hobbled my way down the trail. I had started taking my Succeed tabs one hour into the run and was due for the second set. So I grabbed an ibuprofren tablet also and took one of those with the Succeed. I still do not know if it did any good, but the leg did loosen up. In fact I was running pretty good when all of a sudden two dogs came barking and snarling up the trail toward me. Scared the shit out of me. Of course the dogs belonged to someone who was back a couple hundred feet from them. He called them and they backed away. He spouted the standard line, "Don't worry, they don't bite." Maybe not, but sure looked like they wanted to. This was about twenty minutes after the rock and I decided that I needed to finish this run quickly. Unfortunately, I would have problems with finding where the trail went again. It delayed me and made me go back and forth a few times trying to decide if I had missed something. I finished in three hours and Carol was not at the pickup spot. She got lost trying to find the lot. So I started running down the road thinking that I was running toward where she was coming from. Ten minutes later I found out she was coming from the other direction. Once she found me and I got my knee cleaned up, I was glad to be done but also looking forward to when I could go out again. Of course, first off I have to find out about replacing the shoelaces.