9:10 a.m., three runners toeing the mark in the Spooners Cove parking lot, looking ahead to 12 miles of trails. That's right, 12 miles. I know that doesn't sound like a lot to some of you trail running animals out there, but this would be the longest distance the three of us had ever attempted, let alone completed. First there was me, 63 years old, running off and on since my mid 20's, but only running trails for a couple of years. Spinning instructor, cyclist as well, but not at all certain I was ready for this. Kim, 30-something young lady, married to a policeman, absolute terror in the gym but only running for about a year. About 5' of dynamite on two legs, but 12 miles?? Markuu, 20-something new personal trainer. Working hard on getting back to his competitive swimming shape, but only running for about a year. An unlikely crew, but away we went. Of course, there were the 'dang-its' right away. Kim - dang it, my MP3 player battery is dead. Chuck, dang it, I forgot my GPS. Oh well, small things. First, 2-1/2 miles along the Bluff Trail to the Coon Creek trailhead parking lot. Mostly flat easy run, perfect warm-up for what was to come. We stayed together pretty much as far as the Coon Creek parking lot where we met up with Rachelle, another young gym member and beginning runner. Then we went through the gate and up to the guard shack where we checked in with the docents. As we started up the Pt Buchon trail we all ran together for a while, then Markuu and Rachelle fell back a little bit. Rachelle turned around after a couple of miles and Markuu caught back up with us. I should mention that we doing the Jeff Galloway system of run 5 minutes, walk 1 minute. We felt this would be a good approach because of the distance. We cruised along pretty comfortably all the way to the turn-around, at which point we had covered about 6 miles. We had all done 6 mile runs before so we were still feeling pretty strong. But now we had to turn around and do the entire 6 miles again! Were we up to the task? Sure! Of course, ol' man Chuck needed a couple of fluid flushing breaks, but we were on a roll. Again we stayed pretty close together, taking our 1 minute walk breaks every 5 minutes. More dang-its. Chuck, dang it, my iPod died. Kim - dang it, my GPS is almost dead. Markuu - dang it - never mind, I won't embarass him by telling you what his dang it was. At any rate, we got back to the guard shack in good form and we still all felt strong and powerful. Kim was getting a bit muscle sore, Markuu was dealing with his dang it but we were cookin'. In fact, after checking back in at the guard shack, Markuu took a burst of energy and absolutely annihilated the steep hill going back up to the parking lot. From that point, we barely saw him until we reached the end of the Bluff Trail. After meeting up with him there, we continued running back down the road to Spooners Cove where we had left our cars. And guess what, Kim's GPS never completely died! So we knew we had covered 12.05 miles in 2 hrs and 16 minutes. Yeah, we bad!!!
I am so proud of my team mates and the progress they have made. The good thing is, I have other team mates that weren't able to be there today who done equally well and increasing their fitness through trail running along with their other activities. Go Running Works!!!!!!!