One thing I have learned about trail running and continue to reinforce to myself as I see people pound away on the treadmill, is you take what you get when it comes to weather. I will say this, most weekends the weather seems to clear as if on purpose to allow for some epic trail adventures. But on occasion as we saw last week, winter will throw all she has at you which would deter the 99% from entering the wild. These are the days that make memories which last much longer than the feeling of cold in your finger tips and yearning to toss in the towel for a warm vehicle. Now maybe these comments would have been more suitable for last weeks blog with winter having finally made a presence, but I can't help but think about the weather today as I take a much needed recovery day listening to the rain gently fall outside. I sit here reminiscing about yet another fun weekend.
Yeeuuup....You guessed it another weekend adventure. I don't think Linds and I have had a single boring weekend since we have moved to Asheville some 6 months ago now. The wiki group and crazy friends we have met since moving here have kept us more than active. In true trail runner fashion on a week when Hallmark sits back, collects pure profit and laughs at everyone buying a card to express their love, which for some may take quite the effort to decide on the words of another to tell there significant other they love them, we chose to join our friends on yet another weekend adventure. This weekend we would be running in Black Mountain area in a running event extravaganza called 'Rattle My Heart 50k' and the weather was absolutely fantastic.
I will keep my words to a minimum and let the photos and video tell the story but to pave the way I will take a little time to offer all who read a bit of friendly advise. When you run everyday, week in and week out and the legs begin to get weary there is one activity you should avoid no matter what. Especially mid run when the legs are feeling quite tired and there is still plenty of running to do. So what might this be....well for those who couldn't guess it here are my few words of wisdom for the day. In simple words, You must absolutely never fool around a geyser and whatever you do never try to jump on this geyser while your friend video tapes...enough said, enjoy!
After a couple busy weeks and a missed blog last week, I felt it was a nice weekend for another epic adventure. As most adventures come to fruition, so did this one. On Monday I had the great idea that it was time for a double Shut-In. Winter was also staging some fun throughout the week as well and decided to show up for what seemed like the first time all season. The best part about planning wild and sometimes crazy, and to most people, stupid weekend adventure is we have enough crazy friends who share the same passions. Mountain running, and sometimes mountain running in adverse weather, which always makes for a great story and epic memory. With some roughly 40 miles ahead of us and plenty of climbing and painful descending for all, Damian, Hayley and I set out Sat morning from the French Broad Bent Creek parking lot. Damian and I would be running to the top of Pisgah, which was certain to be a view shared by no one else on a day like we had, and then back to the river. As we set of the snow began to fall, the wind began to blow, and the hands began to freeze!
The run went great. Lindsey was able to take Bent Creek road to the Gap and do some hiking there and stage some much needed nutrition for the long descent back down. As we crossed Bent Creek gap and continued our climb towards Pisgah, winter began to let her presence know each step of the way. The accumulated snow began to grow and grow and the wind began to howl. But nothing was going to keep us from making the top, and thanks to the weather and a closed parkway, nothing was going to keep us from coming back down, since there would be no temptation to escape the wintry mix then to run faster.
As we approached the summit of Pisgah the center of the storm had passed over us and we were presented with some gorgeous clear views of the winter wonderland we had all to ourselves on this bitterly cold day. The view was shared as long as we could endure and then my legs reminded me that they were wearing shorts! Yes my own fault, but regardless it was time to make the return journey because as you remember there would be no option for opting out of the return adventure. On the trip back down spirits remained high as we laughed and ran our way down thinking about how awesome the adventure was. Winter gave us all she had. The wind howled and tried to keep us down. Cold hands tried to take me down and did a good job. Even the trees took a swing at us, as a branch creaked, cracked and almost hit Damian, just missing him by a couple feet as it landed in the middle of the trail. But still in high spirits though with some sore knees and feet we approached the parking lot to the joyous sounds of honking horns, meaning the heat was going inside the cars!
All in all, an awesome day in the woods, briefly the sunshine, and mostly the cold windy snow. It never ceases to amaze me how different things appear in a different setting. The way the trail looks in the winter verse the summer, in the rain verse sunshine, and how awesome mountain running is in the snow. It was also a great way to wrap up the week and culminating run for my longest mileage week yet. The body is recovering fine and against my will I am bound to a day of rest today but not complaining too much. Thanks Damian for the great company and being as crazy as me. That was an epic journey and as always opens the door for so many other great adventures.