Today I went out for an easy 5 miler today at Kings Mountain National Military and State Park. I took the loop trail to Browns Mountain today. I love this trail, a nice mix of steep hills and flat areas. The trail itself on this side of the loop is beautiful, lots of rocks, moss, and streams. The weather today was nice. It had stormed yesterday and it was still overcast this morning at 9 am. Even though it was overcast the temps were in the 70's with lots of humidity but the lack of sun made it feel so nice compared to last week's run at the same time and same place.
My feet got wet pretty quickly with all the dampness on the grasses along the sides and middle of the trail. I hit an area of wide trail early on where they have put down some small pebble footing since last week. Man that was tough to run on. I know it's there to help with trail erosion but man it wasn't fun sinking into the pebbles with each step. I hope it doesn't take long to settle in and get packed down.
I was really having fun running the trails this morning. I know I'm a bit of a freak because I love overcast weather, it's easier on my eyes and makes the warm temps easier to deal with. The overcast sky made the mood of the trail perfect for me, dark with the contrast of the green lush forest floor filled with ferns, moss, grasses, vines, and underbrush. Beauty all around. I was feeling so alive and in touch with Mother Nature. I came around a right hand curve leading to a stream with a footbridge and like a ding dong didn't slow down! What was I thinking? Rain + Wooden bridge + Running fast = SPLAT! My right foot slipped off to the left off the side of the bridge, scraping the side of my calf on two boards and landing on my right butt cheek. What would you think my first thought would be after finally coming to a stop? Well, it was to pause my Garmin! Not, oh my, let's do inventory to see if I'm hurt. Nope, I've got to stop my watch so it doesn't add any extra time to my run. After my Garmin was stopped I checked things out and my calf was red and scraped up, my left arm felt a hair sore, and the butt cheek on the right was stinging. So I got my camera out and took photos. I brought it to take pictures from the top of Browns Mountain, glad I did! After the photo opp I brushed myself off, started my Garmin, and went on my way.
My big goal was to make it to the top of Browns Mtn without walking. It was tough and mostly felt like a crawl but I did it and was rewarded with a beautiful view. I stopped and took some photos and just enjoyed my time out in the quietness of the woods. I packed my things back into my Camelbak and headed back down Browns Mtn. That was fun! Steep with lots of rocks to dodge. I imagined myself running my own mini version of Western States 100. Yes, 5 miles is a far cry from 100 but a girl can dream! At the bottom of the mountain I decide to turn away from the direction of the trail head to allow myself some more bonding time with Mother Nature. It was tough to finally make myself turn around and head back.
About 1.5 mile from the end of my run I was blazing along the trail, well it felt like blazing to me. I had a huge grin and was loving life when, SPLAT, I was on the ground! My final resting spot had me on my hands and knees. Yet again, my first instinct was to pause the Garmin! Did a quick inventory and whipped out the camera for another photo opp. No blood, just lots of scraped up skin and leaves all over my limbs. This part of the trail had leaf debris as a base instead of rocks. Had there been rocks I think I'd be a bit bloody. I used my Camelbak to rinse off my hands and packed my camera back up hit the pause on my Garmin and took off.
Man, do I feel alive today! What a run! I didn't want the trail to end but alas it always does. Luckily one of my favorite features of Kings Mountain trails is that there is a stream near the end no matter which direction you go on the loop. So, I rewarded myself by putting my tootsies in the stream and even sat down and gave my battered legs some love from the chilly water. I drove home going over my run in my head as I listened to Ben Folds and I thought, "What a wonderful day. Does it get any better than this?"
(I'm pretty black and blue now but it doesn't show well in photos. Bruised heel on palm of my left hand, bruised outside of right calf, side of right knee, and front and inside of left knee. I'm not looking forward to how I'll feel trying to get out of bed tomorrow.)