Weekend Trail Run – It looked like the mountain was on fire

I’m back to work today after a glorious ten days off. Boo. Why does vacation fly by so fast? Instead of complaining more, I’ll share a recap from my longer trail run from Saturday morning. Heads up! There is a picture of a small amount of blood at the end of this post. Also, there are lots of pictures in general!

This past Saturday Barry and I were up bright and early to head up to Pandapas Pond to run on some trails through the Jefferson National Forest. We had planned to head out early because we needed to be home by 10, so I had my alarm set for 5:45 AM. But as it turns out I was tossing and turning from about 3:00 AM on and finally got up around 4:30 for good. I didn’t mention it last week when I said I had my first cavity and filling, but my tooth and mouth had actually been throbbing since my trip to the dentist last Monday (12/29). I have since begun an ibuprofen regimen (under dentist’s orders) in the hopes that the nerve in my tooth will calm down so that I don’t have to pursue further treatment. Anyway, by the time we arrived at Pandapas I was about ready to go back to bed. Not to mention it was pouring and around 36 degrees.

Pandapas Pond Poverty Creek Trail System Jefferson National Forest

Sloppy, sloppy trails

But we had plans for a run, and the weather wasn’t going to stop us. Luckily, the rain briefly stopped after we started running. From there on, it only rained lightly on and off the rest of the morning. The first thing I did was head over to the pond to hit the restroom prior to my run.

Pandapas Pond Poverty Creek Trail System Jefferson National Forest

From the pond, I headed over to Horst Nettle Trail for an out and back run up Brush Mountain. I’ve done this run a few times, now, and just like the very first time I had to mix in a fair amount of hiking on the way up. I’m sure my strength will come back soon, though!

Pandapas Pond Poverty Creek Trail System Jefferson National Forest

It was very wet and muddy on the trails, and at times my feet were slipping and sliding out from under me. I managed to stay upright the entire run, though. It also got foggier and foggier as my elevation increased.

Pandapas Pond Poverty Creek Trail System Jefferson National Forest

At times, I had maybe 10 feet of visibility in any direction as I ran along the trail and the gravel fire road. Barry was running separate from me, and despite there being a few other cars in the parking lot I never saw anyone else. It was kind of spooky! Here’s a comparison photo of the view from the fire tower on a clear day and how it looked on Saturday.

Pandapas Pond Poverty Creek Trail System Jefferson National Forest

Shortly after passing the fire tower I made it to the very top of Brush Mountain and was a little over halfway through my run (thanks to the detour to the pond at the beginning). It was much colder up there than it had been in the parking lot, and everything was all icy. The fog and mist floating around made it look like the mountain was on fire.

Pandapas Pond Poverty Creek Trail System Jefferson National Forest

Before heading back down the mountain I had a salted caramel GU. I hadn’t had one of those since the Marine Corps Marathon, and I forgot how delicious they are. Yum!

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After enjoying that deliciousness it was time to head back down. There are still some hills on the way down, because the first mile or so is on a fire road that undulates, but it’s pretty much a net downhill.

01-03-15 elevation

The fire road was still super foggy on the way back down, even though it was starting to get a lot lighter outside. Here’s another comparison, this time of the fire road on a clear day versus Saturday.

Pandapas Pond Poverty Creek Trail System Jefferson National Forest

Wouldn’t that give you the creeps? I kept waiting for someone to appear out of the fog and startle me, but it never happened. Good opportunity to not get “caught” taking a selfie, at least!

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As usual, the trip down was much quicker than the way up. It was more interesting than it has been in the past, though, because my feet would often slip a few inches in the mud with each footfall.

Pandapas Pond Poverty Creek Trail System Jefferson National Forest

Finally, I made it back onto the main path that connects Horse Nettle Trail to the parking lot. There’s one last little hill back up to the lot that always feels tougher than it really is. My legs were pretty tired!

Pandapas Pond Poverty Creek Trail System Jefferson National Forest

I met back up with Barry at the parking lot, arriving a few minutes after when I was supposed to be back. I’ll blame that one on my side trip to the pond at the beginning of the run. My shoes and lower legs were really muddy and soaking wet. The picture doesn’t do it justice.

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As I was checking out all of the mud on my legs, I found something else I had no idea about…

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Oops! It turns out the mud and wet caused my right sock to ride down on my shoe, and my Achilles got rubbed raw. The crazy part is I didn’t feel it at all while running. I guess because it was cold enough that my feet and ankles were numb the whole time. I definitely felt it in the shower later, though!

All in all, I logged 18 miles last week with my return to regular running. I’m glad I was able to sneak in one longer trail run before this weekend’s 10K trail race. Hopefully I will survive! I think it’s going to be a tough one, but there will be plenty of room for improvement as I continue with the trail series races this spring.

What adventures did you get into this weekend?

12 Comments

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  1. Took an adventure to the Mall on Saturday evening. Probably the first time I have been there in over a year. I was surprised how uncrowded it was.

    Looks like you had a good time splashing through the mud, but then you always did.

    Back to reality.

    LUD.

    1. Glad the Mall was a good experience and you made it out unscathed!

  2. I can’t wait to run Pandapas Pond! Hope your raw heel is feeling better, and doesn’t bother you on your runs this week.
    Debbie @ Deb Runs recently posted…Ten Benefits Of Being An Injured RunnerMy Profile

    1. It’s going to be a blast! Although I probably won’t be able to keep up with you 🙂

  3. You are so hard core! That weather would have had me turning around in a heart beat. At the very least, I would have run on the treadmill instead. You rock!
    Alison recently posted…Pecan Butter – yes really!My Profile

    1. Hard core or hard headed – one or the other 🙂

  4. I hope you get some blue skies and sunshine for your trail race and that your ankle heals quickly. I like the salted caramel, too – like candy!
    Tina@GottaRunNow recently posted…18 Mile Run: Mostly a Great One!My Profile

    1. The forecast is looking good! It’s going to be cold, but it’s also going to warm up for the race. We are expecting sloppy, muddy conditions. I’m glad there’s no forecast for rain, though!

  5. Your heel looks painful! I have a little zipper at the bottom of one of my pairs of tights and sometimes when I get home from a long run that zipper has rubbed my heel raw. It’s strange that we don’t notice certain things when we’re running (but I agree ~ the shower is a place you can’t hide from the truth!).
    I want to run that trail with you!! SO beautiful…
    The new Salted Watermelon and Root Beer flavors are interesting ones. I wouldn’t want them every time… but it’s fun to try. Chocolate Peanut Butter and Salted Caramel are my two favorites right now. 🙂
    Glad you got your run in! You’re a rock star! 🙂
    Stephanie@nowiun.com recently posted…Mini-Running-ReportsMy Profile

    1. It was very painful in the shower, but it’s funny how you often don’t feel those things while running. I ran today, and it hurt a bit right at first but then was fine. Maybe someday you’ll get to run Pandapas with me and I’ll get to run Buffalo Park with you! 🙂

      I tried the Root Beer flavored GU during a half marathon in November (decided to make things interesting and try it for the first time during my race lol). I actually really liked it, but it’s so different that I wouldn’t want it all the time.

  6. I have ended up with blisters above my heels on rainy runs, too! And I had no idea it was happening until after the run was over. Better to be ignorant in those cases, huh? And thanks for the warning about the blood-some people just post nasty pictures with no warning at all. I am not all that squeemish but a warning is the polite thing to do.
    Amy recently posted…No Gender DecemberMy Profile

    1. I’m glad we often don’t know about them while we’re still running!

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