Saturday, June 5, 2010

Sope Creek

Spurgeon posts frequent runs on Daily Mile of running at Sope Creek. I went there once, in August 2009, and enjoyed it. I must have liked it a lot because I saved the location in my car's GPS/map memory. So after seeing another of his Sope Creek posts, and also seeing tweets that this weekend there is free parking at national parks, I decided that this would be where I would do my easy 3 miles scheduled for Saturday.

I stayed up way too late last night watching the movie Seven and playing scrabble aka Words with Friends (or strangers) on iPhone. I haven't gotten nearly enough sleep this week so I didn't bother setting my alarm clock. Riley (golden retriever) woke me at 6 a.m. I was dead tired, so I fed the pets, sent them outside, and climbed back in bed. Next thing I know, the phone is ringing at 11:30 a.m. Yikes! By the time I got dressed, ate, and drove to the park, it was 2:15 p.m. I knew it was hot, but also knew the shaded trails would be much better than running on the street. After dousing myself with the lovely fragrance of my summer perfume (insect repellant), I started down the main trail. Lake Sibley is near the parking lot entrance.

I ran down what Spurgeon refers to as Main Street (wide trail) for a little while and then decided to venture off on one of the side trails. I was loving this running adventure! And then I came to a road block... What to do... climb through/over the downed tree or turn around? There was dense brush on either side of it so going around it wasn't going to be an easy option. My leg is still pretty scraped up from my fall on my run on Monday, so I decided to turn around and pick a different path.

The next path that I picked wasn't well traveled. And I learned pretty quickly why. The path was narrow; my body was constantly being brushed by the flora (hopefully not poison ivy). It was a fairly steep downhill and I enjoyed that part, but realized that what goes down must also go up. When I got to the end of this trail segment, I was greeted by the relaxing sight and sound of a small trickling creek. I was also surprised by this giant mushroom.

During the second mile I became very thirsty and overheated. I walked up the steep hills. I was still happy, though.  But the third mile was horrible.  Yet again, I made the mistake of not carrying water with me. I was only going to be running for 3-4 miles, afterall, so I thought I could certainly go that distance without water. WRONG. I was SO THIRSTY, and slowing to a snails pace.

At least I was smart enough to have an insulated water bottle in the car. My parched throat, red face, insane thirst drew me back to the car after 3 miles. I drank the cool water quickly and it barely made a difference in how I felt. I cranked the air conditioning in the car and then drove to the nearest store. I bought and quickly consumed a bottle of gatorade. I don't think I've ever drank an entire bottle of gatorade in one gulp-after-gulp-after-gulp, like I did today.

So this leads me to lessons learned... (1) Go to bed early so you can get up early and run when it's cooler, and (2) when it's hot, carry water or electrolyte drink with you no matter how few miles you plan to run.

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