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A Promiseland Parallel Run

I’m not sure it’s actually parallel. Because geometry. I’m not even sure where Promiseland is in relation to Day Creek.

This is just where they sent us to keep us out of the way.

I’m out here wandering around Day Creek Trailhead while I wait for Rogue to get here. Just looking for a gate. The one that is apparently the start of the route we’re taking today.

So far I’ve found this.

Well, that … doesn’t help.

Rogue and I wanted to get out on the mountains near the Promiseland course without actually being on the Promiseland course because we couldn’t promise not to land in the way of the runners on the course.

Last night Hiking Queen texted me this from across the fancy dinner table we were at.

What the hell am I supposed to do with this?

Then she spent 30 minutes after dinner using phrases like “remember that bridge we crossed?” and “you know where that fire road is?”

She’d stop herself every time. And eventually she stopped making eye contact with me altogether and focused her instructions on Rogue.

I’m not sure why that’s the safer choice.

Rogue got lost driving here. Not because she doesn’t know how to get here. But because she’s Rogue. And wasn’t paying attention.

But at least it absolves me of any responsibility when we end up lost in the middle of Ohio starving and looking for a cell phone tower.

I wonder which one of us would kill the other off for food first…

Probably me.

Rogue makes pretty good food choices and I put too much sugar and preservatives into my body to be considered a healthy food option.

Since I obviously had time to kill, I went for a pee in the woods. It was a bit of a struggle because leg day and delayed onset muscle soreness. And weakness, apparently. Because I couldn’t quite hold myself for the amount of pee that kept coming out. Like, it was a solid two minute stream of pee. That may have spilled over onto me when my legs finally said, “No. Seriously. That’s enough. You’re gonna have to just hold the rest.” And then just kind of fell over.

Spent some time with what I hope were not poison leaves and some hand sanitizer cleaning that off.

And then walked back to my car and saw this.

And actually thought, “Huh. Wonder how long that’s been there…”

But the woods smell way better, anyway.

I mean, obviously I don’t. Because I just urinated on myself.

But it’s mine.

At least I didn’t have to smell other people’s pee.

And I feel like the chance of a snake bite is lower on the ground than in one of those things. I like to see what I’m peeing on.

Like my own legs.

Rogue eventually found her way back here after calling me asking for directions. You know it’s bad when you’re calling me asking for directions. I usually just hand the phone to whatever human is standing closest to me. But I was completely alone. In the middle of the woods. Vulnerable. Waiting. And that squirrel over there didn’t seem open to helping.

It’s cool. I got her here.

We took a pre-Run pic so Fifer would have something to show the authorities when we came up missing. Otherwise, she might use a pic from last night’s Classin It Up dinner, and that would help no one. A pic of me in a dress and heels is in no way an accurate representation of what you should be looking for when I come up missing. Or ever.

There were a few dodgy moments.

We were half following the directions Rogue had “memorized” from Hiking Queen and half following the directions we’d screenshotted from Mountain Junkies website. Because apparently this route is one of Roanoke Valley Trail Runners’ current challenges.

I didn’t know.

Does that mean I don’t ever have to go back to North Mountain…?

We were doing ok.

Enjoying the views that 3,000 feet of elevation offer.

Until we hit the part of the directions that say

Because Rogue read that as “go backwards on the Parkway” and I read it as “go back onto the Parkway.”

We got a little distracted by Bubble Butt and Monkey Penis. Those are actual things that some asshole wrote on one of the Iron Mine Hollow signs.

Because there are two.

Which is only mildly confusing for someone like me.

We tried to scrub it off with hand sanitizer. Which I brought with me. In case I had to pee on myself again. Because balance.

But I’m pretty sure my bottle of hand sanitizer is really just water. So, it’s still on there for more resourceful people to fix.

And then we spent some time just wandering up and down the Parkway arguing over semantics until we agreed that I was right.

And I was.

Because we eventually found this teeny tiny little sign about 20 feet off the start of Spec Mines trail.

Super helpful.

At some point, Rogue hallucinated a red kidnapper truck ahead of us. I didn’t see it. So she figured explaining the vehicle in detail might help create the hallucination for me, too. She started throwing out truck words that wouldn’t even have helped me if the truck was right in front of me.

Then we decided that I probably shouldn’t run on the road alone ever again.

But whatevs because it clearly wasn’t a threat (or real), because we didn’t even get kidnapped.

Things continued to go well until we got to the part that said

Which are pretty solid directions.

Unless you’re me.

Because I just stood there looking at this and trying to figure out how where the 4th part of the 4-way intersection was.

I was standing on it.

We did some real-world Geometry and opted to follow the path that was both left and up.

Because directions.

At one point about halfway up, Rogue just stopped mid-Trail and cussed. Because it goes on forrrrrever. Just a long, slow, obnoxious climb.

But then her brain noticed the sky and she started talking about why there aren’t more female cop shows or something. (That’s how her brain works. Y’all have figured this out by now, right?)

It was gorgeous.

Made it back up to the Parkway and found this phenomenal view that should be an overlook. But isn’t.

And then enjoyed the nice rocky, rutted out trail back down to my filthy car.

We sat there in the parking lot for a good 30 minutes debating whether to go find the Promiseland finish line to cheer our friends in or go eat and watch Avengers.

Obviously food.

And Chris Hemsworth.

Kind of.

We didn’t shower, but we did put on clean shirts. And deodorant. And did a cursory sweep for ticks.

When we found two seats in the theater, a woman was quick to point out that she was saving seats for friends. But allowed us to have the two next to those.

ME: “Thank you. I’m clean. Mostly. I mean, I haven’t showered yet. I put on deodorant. I’m gonna shower after the movie. I don’t think I smell too bad.”

ROGUE (in that counselor/mother hybrid voice she gets sometimes): “Stop explaining yourself.”

Rogue found her next tattoo during the Secret Life of Pets 2 preview. Because the animated puppy dog spoke to her. “The first step of not being afraid is acting like you’re not afraid.”

I won’t give any spoilers for the actual Avengers movie away here. Except to say that, for a licensed counselor, Rogue gets very judgy during natural human responses to extremely emotional movie scenes. I could feel her looking around at all of the people ugly crying. And she was about to whisper something snarky about it until her eyes landed on me. And her eyes, in their best Tom Hanks voice, said, “Are you crying?!?”

Yes, Rogue. I’m crying. I’m experiencing emotion in response to a devastating event. That’s what real human hearts do.

I believe the last words I said to her as I got out of her car were “Bye, you cold-hearted bitch.”

And also? It turns out I did smell. I probably could’ve used a shower beforehand.

But dude next to me kept shaking his popcorn container during the movie. Trying to make the leftover kernels pop, I assume.

So I don’t even feel bad for exposing him to 13 miles of trail smell and a little bit of lingering leg pee.

For those of you wondering, I did shower when I got home.

No. No. It’s a valid question.

And I’ll probably do it again tomorrow. Just to be safe.

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Just reading and writing and running and looking for my happy place.


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