“My blister has finally made itself fully known. Ima pop it. How much am I gonna regret that decision?”
We’re never quite sure of the mileage when Beautiful Beastie leads us into the woods.
We just make sure we have water filters with us. Because chances are we’re gonna run out of water at some point.
Today we were running the longer Day Creek Loop. One of them. From Glenwood Horse Trail around to Doty Ridge.
No idea of actual mileage. Just that is was gonna be more than 20.
If we all stuck with the whole route.
Ima be real. Rogue hasn’t had a lot of time to put in a lot of miles of late. So I was kind of anticipating her cutting out early and me dutifully accompanying her back to the cars. Because that’s what friends do. They let you use them as an excuse to not have to run 20+ miles in summer.
We got to the top of Hammond Hollow and I thought, maybe here. If she mentions the mileage, maybe BB will explain that she could take the AT back over to Blackhorse Gap. And that would probably only be about 15.
(I don’t know if that’s true. My brain was really trying to piece together the different routes we’d run here. And math it. And, well, math. So I was really going more on hope that actual facts here.)
But everyone just took off down Hammond Hollow. Without any discussion.
Ok, but we’re not gonna talk about…?
There was gonna be an aid station at the bottom of the trail anyway. With clementines.
Have y’all ever fantasized about clementines?
The whole way down Hammond Hollow. I was fantasizing about clementines. And really just some of my best fantasizing work to date.
But when we got to the bottom of Hammond, Trail Hero Genius was nowhere to be found.
BB called him. And tried to decipher where he was.
Eventually she decided that he was waiting at the bottom of Spec Mines. Three miles down the fire road.
It was during that three miles that Rogue got a call. Urging her to cut her run short (yesss). And talk of how we might best do that began.
We. Because you damn sure know I was going with her.
Because that fire road.
Fire road has a special way of just sucking the will to live right on out of you.
And all that really got me through was the knowledge that I was running towards clementines. And a potential ride back to Blackhorse Gap.
But then Rogue figured out that she didn’t need to actually cut her run that short.
Ok, but you really don’t think we should…?
Fine. I still had the vision of clementines drawing me forward.
And then. There he was. Trail Hero Genius. Sitting on his tailgate. Surrounded by chips and clementines.
And it was beautiful.
And it was hard to not start nesting.
But BB doesn’t let us get too comfortable on these runs.
So she ushered us over to the trail. Back up to the AT.
And somehow I got in front.
Which put me on snake duty.
And. Ok. Y’all know me by now.
We got to the top and I said, “Thank god that’s over. Because y’all know I was only looking for snakes about half the time.”
Seriously, though. What did they expect? Would you put me on snake duty?
We headed back over along the AT.
And this is where the super poops started kicking in. I’d spent most of the night before expelling whatever had upset my body. And I really thought I’d gotten it all out by morning.
But at 15 miles in, my body was like, dude. You might wanna get to a bathroom. This shit’s gonna take a while.
So running was clearly out of the question.
So Rogue crawled along the AT with me, while BB and K-Rob ran on ahead, waiting for us at major intersections.
At one point, they insisted that I just go ahead and free the poop from my body.
“You’ll feel like a new woman.”
But as I squatted there, my legs were like, dude. 16 miles. We are not prepared to support you while you do this. And visions of just collapsing into a pile of my own shit flashed through my head. Which caused my body to be like, yeah. No. We’re gonna just hang on to this for a while longer.
So I pulled my shorts back up. And ran to catch up with the others.
The good news is that little body conversation chased the super poops back up inside. So I no longer felt like I was about to shit my shorts.
The bad news is that a blister the size of a Buick had started to form on the bottom of my left foot.
So as I came out of the AT at the top of Blackhorse Gap. I knew this was the point Rogue would head back to her car. Allowing me to follow along with her. Because 18 miles sounded way better than 23 at that point.
But then I heard these bitches standing there. Talking. As they waited for me. And they weren’t talking about Rogue heading on down to the cars.
They were talking about the next 5 miles…?
And then these chicks just took off. Up the Parkway.
Ok, but we’re not gonna talk about…?
And it’s only a little over a mile of Parkway before you get to the top of Doty Ridge.
But that’s all the time I need to lose my fucking mind.
I was honestly just shadowing Rogue at that point. Running. No. Walking. Walking on whatever part of the road/grass she was walking on. Because I just didn’t want to make decisions like that at that point.
Which is why. When the Jeep was driving towards us. I panicked.
Because the car before, she had just moved over onto the grass. So that’s what I anticipated this time. Except I was kind of headed to the other side of the road. For reasons.
So I kind of ran back to go get in the grass with Rogue. Except Rogue wasn’t headed for the grass. She was headed for the other side of the road.
And this confused me.
And so I bumped into her. Kind of bounced off. Ran in circles a couple of times. Yelled out in exclamation. And then panickedly ran to the other side of the road.
Where Rogue had just casually walked.
While also looking at me like I’d just lost my fucking mind.
Which I had.
My apologies to the Jeep.
I am why people hate runners.
But it was fine. I was fine. Everything was fine.
We made it back over to Doty Ridge. Without me causing any major car accidents.
And my blister was now about the size of a Cadillac. (Cadillacs are bigger than Buicks, right?)
We got to the spot where we could see back up to the parkway.
And they had to explain to me that we’d just come from there.
I mean, that seems kind of far away…
But I didn’t linger on that too much. My body was reminding me of all it’s issues in that moment. And suggested I move myself on to the car.
So I carefully and whinily picked my way down the rocky descent.
We got to the first creek crossing. And we all just kind of collapsed into it.
And then reluctantly pulled ourselves up. To make our way back to our cars.
And the most magical feeling in the world is removing your shoes after a 23 mile trail run.
And then sitting yourself down into a cold creek.
With a cold beer.
And watching the crawdads chew on your friends.
They left me alone. Mexican is too spicy for them.
So, 23 miles and 4,500 feet of climbing. In case you were wondering. What that route will get you.
I did pop the blister.
With zero regrets.
Also, I just finished this book.
If you haven’t already, you should read it. I might even be willing to share my copy if you want. Which is a big deal. I don’t share books.