Sunday, January 23, 2011

Lewis and Clark Trail Training Run 2011

It was a beautiful morning, 22 degrees with about 9 inches of snow on the ground. A perfect day to meet some friends and run some miles. The original plan was to run a lap at the Lewis & Clark Trail, near Weldon Springs, Missouri then take a short jog down the road and run a lap of the Lost Valley trail. The total distance would be around 22 miles. When we planned this run there was no snow in sight and the temperature was sticking above freezing. You know how training days seem to go, never by the plan and we just adjust to the conditions.

Adjust, that is exactly what we did. 5 of us met for the first lap, Mike, Nicole, Patrick, Chuck and Me. We started at 7 am just when it was starting to get light.

Surprisingly to us, there was another group of about 10 people also starting early. They were all hikers and I’m pretty sure it was a boy scout group. They took off, just a few minutes before us and we quickly passed them on the trail. We ran for a while and then stopped for a few scenic photo ops.

The trail was really nice and packed down, but it had some really icy spots where it had melted a bit and refroze. We slide around in a couple places without any falls. I turned around once and saw the guys doing something, but I have no idea what it was, I’m not sure it was legal though, I don’t think Patrick wanted to do it.

We took off again, when they finished whatever it was they were doing. It seemed like the run went pretty quick, but still not as fast as we run this trail during dry weather. We finished the 1st lap in 1:57.
We had planned for a second group to meet us for the Lost Valley loop, and they had been waiting for about 40 minutes. When we hit the parking lot, they were just getting ready to leave, we got there just in time. This is where we decided to switch up the plan a bit. It was really starting to snow hard and we weren’t sure of the conditions on the Lost Valley trail, so we made a decision to do a second lap of Lewis & Clark instead.

Off we ran passing many more people on the trail, more boy scouts, some runners, hikers and people walking their dogs. We even passes some runners we knew, everyone seemed to be out today. It was really fun running in the snow, the boys were up front having some fun and zilla made sure he was right in the middle of the fun.

We ran about 4 miles of the second lap, and saw that there was a rock ready to fall, and if it did, the entire hill was going to come down. It’s a good thing Patrick and Chuck are so strong.

After the super hero’s finished saving the day, we moved on and climbed hill after hill heading for the bluff. Val really made those hills look easy.

We made it to the bluff and went to the haunted point, as the legend goes, 5 runners came out to run one snowy day and while standing on the bluff they were blown into the river, their bodies never to be found. The legend says that if you are out running in the cold snowy weather you can sometimes see their ghosts. Low and behold as we looked out over the river, we saw them, I snapped a picture.

We decided to take a picture of our group on the same bluff, Chuck was afraid that we might seal our fate, by mocking the legend, so he took the picture, he thought he would be safe doing that.

So off we went, talking about if we could eat each others bodies if we found ourselves stranded in the woods with no food. Patrick said something about having a “handburger” for lunch, we were starting to think that Chuck was right about mocking the legend. Now we only had a couple miles to go, so at the last lookout we stopped for a photo of the 6, 2nd lap runners. Chuck, Patrick, Val, Jim, Doug, and Me, oh and Zilla too.

We headed back to the parking lot to finish up the 17 miles for those of us who did both laps, which was Me, Patrick and Chuck. I was toast by the end and really glad we didn’t shoot for the 22 miles, 17 in the snow was really tough. What is really funny though, we ran a negative split, the second lap was 1:55. It was really a great morning and running with the fluffy snow hitting us in the face the entire second lap was fantastic, even if we were covered in a layer of ice by the end. Dry clothes and the heater in the van blowing at full blast really made it all worth while.