So, on Wednesday I left work early. To run the virtual Frozen Toe not quite 10k.
I could do this because I didn’t have any students to test that day. And I didn’t have any conviction to spend the entire day catching up on truancy phone calls.
And because I didn’t have those things. I dressed like an actual professional woman. For the first time in weeks.
My standard wardrobe since returning from break has been stretchy fabrics. Sweatshirt. Hair up.
I’ve looked vaguely homeless for the last two weeks. Which. I mean. I basically am.
Look. These people were lucky I was even bothering to clean the important parts every morning.
But Wednesday I wore dress shoes.
Because I thought I was cute.
And then I learned that I’m not.
I’m not cute anymore.
Because my poor little baby pinky toes were whimpering by 8am.
Crying inconsolably by 9am.
And having a full on meltdown by 10.
So I’ve got these little blisters on both of them now. Which is exactly what you want going into 50k weekend.
And you really want them good and fresh before heading out for a not quite 10k trail race. I mean, run.
We definitely weren’t racing. Rogue and I.
We definitely were just running the Frozen Toe course just to get credit. Because I really want the series jacket this year.
And we definitely did a lot of walking. Because I’m definitely not in any kind of race condition right now.
I’m barely in clean and dress myself daily condition right now.
And I’d put out the call to Rogue and Beautiful Beastie and AD and GJB beforehand. To see who might wanna run with me.
And Rogue and I made a plan. To meet up and run the course.
GJB had no confidence in us.
“Please someone go with these two. They’ll never get this route correct.”
And Rogue assured him that she’d run the course several times in the last few weeks. Both directions. Because Mountain Junkies likes to switch up the course direction every year. Clockwise. Counter-clockwise. We never know which direction they’re gonna pick.
Which. I mean. I have never ever ever known which direction we were running. Even as we were running it. So it really makes no difference for me.
I’m lucky to maintain awareness of what trail I’m actually on at any given moment.
I can manage to find the church. Where it starts. Because Waze.
But without other humans to guide me. I just wander around Yellow Mountain Rd looking for a trail. And then just go wherever I end up.
But Rogue had done research. She even bothered to ask Master Mountain Junkie which direction the course was this year.
She was ready.
“I have no faith in this.”
And I want to tell GJB to hush. But maybe his lack of faith is fair. And maybe that’s because there’s history. Of Rogue and I. Heading out onto Chestnut Ridge Trail. A trail that has a three mile option. And a five and a half mile option. And seven and a half miles later…it’s cold and dark and we’re starving and still looking for our cars…
No no. I’m sure it will be fine.
So I left work, and my sadistic dress clothes, around 2. And met Rogue in the church parking lot.
And we headed off into the woods.
With me leading us.
Because Rogue always makes me lead. And I wanna say it’s because she just likes the view from back there. But I know it’s more likely that she just wants me to watch the mild panic that sets in every time we approach a split in the trail.
And so she directed me onto the trail.
And almost immediately I had no idea which way to go.
There’s a little map near the start. Or maybe it’s not that near. I don’t actually remember. Because my brain fogs up the moment I set foot on that trail.
But the little map doesn’t tell you which way to go.
Or. Ok, it might. I don’t actually know. Because I don’t ever read the maps. Because my brain fogs up the moment someone puts a map in front of my face.
But Rogue directed me left. Using her bless your heart southern licensed professional counselor mama voice.
And we were fine.
We had a system.
And I was feeling kind of confident.
And then we came upon an older couple.
And Rogue had to get dressed. Because a half mile in she had already stripped down. Because she’s basically her own furnace now.
And they asked us about the trail. And getting back to the trailhead.
And I immediately went on mute.
I should not be involved in this conversation.
So I just stood there admiring our surroundings as Rogue tried. Bless her heart, she really tried to offer guidance. To this sweet old couple.
And every now and then she’d look at me. I assume for some sort of moral support? Validation, maybe?
I’m not sure why you’re looking this way…
I think we all agreed that their best bet was to backtrack. Back to the campground. Where they started.
But they didn’t. We took off again. And they kept heading in the direction that was definitely not back the way they came from.
And so Rogue spent the entirety of the rest of the run worrying.
And we’d process through all of everything happening in the world. And our lives. Right now.
And every half mile or so. We’d stop. And she’d ponder how far from their cars that sweet old couple was.
And as we passed the Chestnut Ridge Overlook. I had to force her to keep going. Instead of stopping. And searching the parking lot. For the sweet old couple.
“Are you sure we shouldn’t check to see if they made it back to their car?”
No. They’re grown. They made their choices. This is about survival right now. I need to make it off of this trail.
And she reluctantly continued on.
And when we came back out onto Yellow Mountain Rd. My Strava said 5.68 miles. And that felt like more than the required amount.
So I stopped my Strava.
And saved my run.
And 5.6 seconds later.
“And just as I predicted…the race and your route were opposite.”
And GJB and Rogue spent the entirety of my drive home arguing over whether or not we ran the right way.
And maybe I should care more.
But I have very little care inside of me these days.
So, I’ll submit my incorrect run. And face judgement and ridicule. And turn my focus to the shit show that is going to be tomorrow’s 50k.
But I won’t get lost. I probably won’t get lost.
It’s just a circle.
Six times around a circle.
So, as long as I don’t start nesting. At Everyone’s Favorite Husband’s aid station. I should be able to at least crawl my way through. And finish by sundown.
Please send food.