The Challenge of Getting 12 Miles In

As part of my training for the Hellbender Half-Maraton August 17th, I had twelve miles scheduled this weekend. Since I was concerned about the course, Terri suggested that I run 12 miles of the course on Saturday. She would bike the trail,  and have water where the race’s stations would be located. She would then run her 16 mile training run on Sunday and I would provide support for her.

We had biked and letterboxed on this trail a few times in the past, but I have never run on it. It was a good plan, and we were prepared for the weekend. We were greeted by a rainbow early Saturday morning, and headed off for Elysburg before 6:00 a.m. Terri had read about a detour due to construction in Danville on the Knoebel’s Facebook page, and we made it to the Sheetz in Elysburg in great time for a final restroom stop. I made it out before Terri, and casually glanced at the headlines in the local newspaper rack. I read a story about a search about a missing jogger and a few moments later was able to ask Terri if that search area was was where we were heading. She said it was, and it seemed like the search ended on Friday evening according  to the article. When we arrived at the parking area for the rail trail head, it was blocked off with orange cones and a sign saying that parking was restricted to state forest vehicles only. We sat parked along the road for a couple of minutes trying to decide what to do next, and came up with a plan to go to the other end of the rail trail. The route would not be the same as the race, but at least would be on the same terrain. When we arrived at that parking area, a couple of forest rangers greeted us and said the entire state forest was closed indefinitely.

At this point it was 8:30, I had fueled properly for a run, and had no place to go. Knoebel’s would not be open for hours, so we bailed and headed home to regroup and plan for having my run overlap somehow with Terri’s. She looked at her course, and where her and my water/fuel stops should be for training. If I went with her for the first six miles of her course, it fit perfectly for me as well.

5:00 a.m. Sunday morning I placed two of the caches, and soon after 5:30 we were off together.

Then about 1.5 miles into the run, I took a tumble crossing over a wood-chip pile on part of the trail. Apparently, where I stepped was hollow underneath, and I collapsed it with my weight. Terri was right behind me, and I assured her I was okay. I ran on adrenaline for next five miles, and I was constantly reassessing if I really was okay to continue. The final five miles felt really slow, even though I had a negative split of 4 minutes.

I stretched out some before seeing Terri at mile 14 in front of our home. She was looking strong, and took off for her final two miles. I gathered Nuun water and a recovery drink, and drove off to meet her at mile 16. As I waited for her, I stretched out some more, and could tell that I will be sore later today and tomorrow from the physical shock my body took from the tumble. Aside from the soreness, I think I am very lucky that it was not worse.

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