Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tiger Mountain Adventure

The plan was to run Tiger Mountain 12 Summits, about 34ish miles. I think we ended up with 4 summits and close to 20 miles. The problem was snow and lots of it.

The day began with a carpool of Rob, Eric and Steve. We met at 5:45 to pick up Rob and head up to Tiger to begin by 7am. It was a bit rainy but I was prepared for whatever the day brought. I was excited to be trying out a new pack I just bought, an Ultimate Direction Wink. It has lots of pockets in the front to keep all your goodies so you don't have to take off the pack to get to some food or your s-caps etc. I loved it by the way. Anyway, we parked at the High Point trail head lot and headed up section line which is a pretty steep ascent to the first summit. I felt like I might puke once we made it to the top, but didn't. We crossed over the top and headed to the next summit not too far away and had our first encounter with the snow. I had to take it easy and baby my ankle as this the first major test on trails (I did run at Mt. Peak, but the trail is only about 2.5 miles, although tough!). So I slowed up on the icy snow. On our way to the second summit we encountered another set of runners 3 male and 1 female, "token female" as Eric said she and I both were. :) We took photos of each other's groups and I'll try to post them here once Eric posts them. I was feeling pretty good, tired of climbing but good. It was a whole new ballgame now with the snow. It was deep! At first it was pretty funny trying to walk in it, trying to stay in the already made foot holes, or post holes as we called them. We'd sink to our knee or higher every once in a while, then sometimes you'd just fall because you lost your balance trying to stay in the holes. After a while it got old and we were ready to be out of the snow. It lased a long time though. We took a short break at the next summit and put on jackets and ate. Then we had to try and go down that snow we just climbed up! Again it was funny at first, but most of the time it just hurt. My shins were bleeding from cuts the ice made. I tried to pull up my sock and down my capri's to shield my open skin from the ice without much success. So much for my Easter skirt tomorrow!
After much discussion from the guys we altered our plans and they figured out another route down a road and some other trails to get us back to section line and to our car without having to go back through the snow from which we had just come. There was some nice run-able sections on that road and I was glad to use new muscles. My feet felt really weird, like I had snow stuck under my heels. It was the strangest feeling, but faded quickly. Maybe they were just thawing out. Once we made it back to section line and an elevator shaft down, I told the guys to go ahead and wait for me at a trail convergence so they could go fast and I could go slow down this super step and rooty section. I wore a sturdy lace-up ankle brace, but I still feel timid about hurting myself again and wanted to take it easy on the downhill. I know my quads will pay dearly for being in full brake mode all the way down, but hey, I need to train those muscles too don't I? The guys waited, but really weren't that far ahead anyway. Once past the super steep section I was able to run with the guys and not feel like I was slowing them up anymore. Then...we were down and done. 6 hours Plus or minus a few and about 20 miles. They were slow miles, but very difficult too. I know I got a great workout. The mountain kicked my butt. I'll be stronger though once healed and that's the point. It was beautiful, the weather held for the most part and the company was good. I can't really ask for a better day.
My husband got to take the kids to the Easter egg hunt at church and got most of their candy as a reward! Tomorrow is Easter and will be spent at church and with family. I may not be moving very quickly but will enjoy the day from the couch! He is Risen!

Easter blessings, Grace and peace to you.