A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

14 miles on the AT!

On Saturday morning, I conquered 14 miles on the Appalachian Trail. Years ago, I could run 14 miles without feeling like I was conquering anything. These days? 14 miles is the longest I have run in nearly a year!

I was nervous to see if my body could handle the distance. If it could handle the distance and recover okay, I planned to run the full 30k distance at the Table Rock Race in Marin County, California.

The plan was to meet Kristen and Anne at Scott's Farm at 8am and do a six mile out and back over the mountain to Route 850. I showed up a half hour beforehand so I could do a mile out and back before they got there.


The first mile is very flat, so it was a nice warm up for what was to come. At 8am on the dot, Kristen and Anne pulled into the parking lot. It was great to reunite with some trail running friends I hadn't seen in a long time! I used to run trail with Kristen and Anne all the time. Luckily, they are the type of friends you can lose touch with but then pick right back up as if no time had passed!


Kristen led the way at what I thought was a pretty fast clip. Or maybe I was just tired from already running two miles? I could keep up fine, it was just faster than I would have run alone. The first 2 miles aren't really hilly, but then there is a gradual uphill that turns into a steep uphill climb to the top of the mountain. We did some hiking at the steep parts, as usual.


To me, going down is worse than going up. There's nothing that makes my body feel old and creaky the way running downhill on a trail does! It's kind of weird that once you go down the other side of the mountain, there are still some more climbs to go until you exit the woods into a big meadow.

I hate running in fields and meadows! The sun beats down and I am afraid of snakes in the tall grass! We made it to Route 850 but I was running out of steam. All I had in the morning was a protein bar, but I felt depleted because I went to the bathroom so many times before I started running. I was drinking lots of water, though.

The girls stopped with me while I bent over. My lower back was starting to hurt. You know that feeling? All I wanted to do was just bend over. It felt so good and I got a little relief. 8 miles done. 6 to go!

Off we went, back through the meadow and into the woods. Just getting back into the shade made me feel better. After running downhill for awhile, I was looking forward to doing some climbing.

The climb to the top went rather quickly. On the way back down, we passed a couple hikers. "Watch out," one guy told us. "There was a black snake on the trail about 30 meters back there but he was making his way off the trail."

I HATE SNAKES!!!!


If I had been with Paul, I would have made him carry me on his back. I'm not even kidding. I contemplated asking Anne to give me a piggy back ride but I figured that was not a polite thing to ask a friend you hadn't seen in a couple years. Instead, I just whimpered and kept saying things like "I hate this!" until I was sure we were more than 30 meters away from where we saw the guy.

The thing is, we probably ran past like 20 snakes while we were out on the trail that day. I mean, I didn't see any, but I bet you they were there... hiding. That's the one thing I hate about running and hiking... the thought of seeing a snake!


It's odd, there's an abandoned car in the woods.
How did it get there?

The last two miles were rough. My back hurt and I wanted to stop and bend over, squat, or just walk a little bit. I could have, but I didn't. I kept trucking along. I think in the race I will stop and do those things if I need to, though.

I was soooo happy to see the parking lot. I squatted down with my butt nearly on the ground. It felt soooo good. "Do you think I can drive home like this?" I asked my friends. I dreaded sitting down in the car because I knew when I stood back up, everything would hurt!

I was slimy, salty, and dirty, just the way I should be after a trail run. I went home, showered, foam rolled, and stretched. I immediately felt a lot better but not completely.

The rest of the day I was just SPENT. Tired, achy... almost a little feverish feeling. Maybe I didn't drink enough? I thought I did. I figured all I needed was a good night's sleep. I was hoping to feel refreshed and less sore in the morning.

The next day I felt 100 times better! I was relieved. That was my last long run before the race. This coming weekend I will do 8 miles on the trail, which should hopefully be no problem!
Are you scared of snakes? Tell me a scary snake story!

What mileage these days make you feel like you CONQUERED something? (Honestly for me, it's like 8 miles right now!)

What's your favorite trail to run on?

19 comments:

  1. Hmmm, there may be more to the story about that abandon car on the trail. Detective Megan needs to get on that!...lol

    I rode bike on the rail trail on sunday and I passed a snake right on the trail. It would have freaked me out if I was on foot instead!

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    1. I'm sure there is. I don't know how a car would get up there. It is about a mile into the woods and the trail is not wide at all.

      What kind of snake did you pass??? Were you scared at all on your bike? I would have been scared even on my bike!

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  2. You are so strong and amazing! How on earth did you crank out a 14 mile run on a protein bar? You should see what I eat before I go out for my 5K! Snakes...no thank you. I saw one on my bike ride yesterday. I think he was dead but it still startled me!

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    1. I don't like dead snakes either! Where were you biking that you saw a snake?

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  3. Oh wow, that trail run came up fast! I remember when you signed up for it. I can't believe how time goes so quickly. I'm not scared of snakes at all. I'm more scared of spiders. Jason and I had pet snakes together and I learned a lot about them. Ball Pythons are huge and thick but they're actually really cuddly and will only bite if they're hungry so we'd make sure to keep them fed (which is only once a month or something). And even if they do bite, their bites are no worse than a cat bite and certainly no worse than a dog bite! Congrats on such a great run!!! It looks gorgeous!

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    1. Really you had pet snakes? Who's idea was that? My brother had a pet snake growing up and I HATED knowing a snake was in the house. I am honestly surprised my parents got him one. I'm not really afraid of being bit by a snake, I just don't even want to SEE it. Dead snakes scare me almost as much as live snakes. Now I feel the need to clarify: I realize when I am running trail I am interrupting the snake's home, not the other way around. I don't want the snakes to be hurt or anything, I just don't want to see them AT ALL.

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  4. Good job on your run!! It sounds and looks so pretty!

    How do you manage running with the water pack? Does it hurt your back?

    Now I'm wondering how the car got there too!! I once knew a family who were trying to get rid of a car, and didn't want to pay the junk yard to take it, so they drove it to some park and abandoned it there, this was about 17 years ago, and in chester county, but I've been wondering what they did with the car for all this years.

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    1. Oh I love having my hydration pack! It does not bother me at all. The worst it has ever done to be is chafe me. I still have a scar on my back from chafing from last summer. But that was my own fault for wearing it with only a sports bra on!

      That is funny about the family that just abandoned their car.

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  5. The other day I went for a run from my home. I came back and there was a small black snake on my doorsteps. I did not want to go into the house, and I hate snakes, so I walked around the neighborhood for five minutes and came back. Snake was still there.

    I went to my back door to see if it was unlocked (maybe left it unlocked accidentally). It wasn't. Came back and the snake was slithering away. It was creepy!

    Every time I have run near snakes on trails though, they have gotten away from me pretty quickly. I still hate them, even the non-poisonous ones creep me out.

    SOOOOO glad you got the 14 miles in and you're doing the trail race!

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    1. OMG! Are there normally snakes near where you live? I would not have approached the snake near my house either. Also, I would have moved. Seriously!!! I rarely see snakes on the trail. I need to try really hard and try to think of the times I saw one. I know they want nothing to do with us, but still, it scares me.

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  6. Have I mentioned I love snakes?! I probably have. We have two that live by our pool and the kids named them. But, speaking of running, I feel the same way that you do about the mileage these days. 14 miles would feel like an accomplishment for me, but definitely 18 miles. Things really have changed for me since I haven't been marathon training non stop!! The AP looks really cool to run on.

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    1. No, I did NOT KNOW YOU LOVE SNAKES. What kind of snakes are the ones that live by your pool? What are their names? Do the snakes seem afraid of you guys? Are they all curled up or sprawled out?

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    2. The snakes are Leo (Zachary's) and Orangey (Sydney's). They are just garter snakes I think. They do slither away pretty quick, but they are big! They like to lay out in the sun if they are not hiding. We have found a few small snakes in our pool and the kids have just picked them up! (snake tamers)

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  7. I hate snakes too, I always get nervous this time of year. You did a great job!! 14 is a lot miles :) I am glad you felt better after some rest...I always worry a little when I feel like that after a run. It is relief to wake up and feel good!
    8 is a long run for me right now lol maybe even a 10K depending hawt hawt it is...

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    1. Oh yes, I literally felt like I was coming down with something, so I was so relieved do wake up feeling like a million bucks. "Hawt" hehehe.

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  8. My coworker was bit by a snake last weekend! She had to go to the hospital and her arm is in a sling now. Apparently she was hiking and picked it up so its her own fault. She said she does it all the time, but this one was a baby. I would never even consider touching a snake on purpose!
    Im glad you got in your miles and didnt have any snake encounters!

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    1. What kind of snake bit her!? Did it hurt? WHY WOULD SOMEONE PICK UP A SNAKE??? It's not like the snake wants to be picked up, duh. It was probably TERRIFIED.

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    2. I know!!! I think it was a baby copperhead. She said she picks up snakes all the time...no idea why!!

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  9. Isn't it amazing how much just a good night's sleep can help the body feel super recovered? I'm so impressed by it's ability to heal!!!

    I'm glad you didn't come across the snake. I'm not afraid of snakes but I can totally understand why other people are. They can be so sneaky, slithering around and ready to strike before you even know they are there!

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