Today was a long run day. A 16 mile day. Non-runners may not understand how energizing it can be to run, let alone running for over three hours straight. But, everyone can understand contentment. Everyone can understand having a passion.
If I wanted to make a long story short, I probably could. My run started in the early morning frost at Krug Park. I ran up the hill, past a castle, nodded at some buffalo and headed into the woods. I made my way over to the Sunbridge Conservation Area Trails, and then returned to Krug Park and on to St. Joe Avenue to finish my run. But, that wouldn’t be much fun! Here’s a tale of two trails.
It was a morning where headphones weren’t necessary but stopping to take pictures was! I loved the first 5 miles. With 25˚F temperatures, the ground was soft but not quite spongey. Deer were out and birds chirping everywhere. The waterfall was gurgling and peaceful as I ran by. Amazingly, I did not pass a single runner or biker throughout the run.
If you look at the map above, you can see a flag right about Second Street–more about the flag later. This flag marks an unofficial exit point from the Krug Park Trails. Earlier, in preparation to a long run, I had stashed some water wrapped in my Volley’s T-Shirt. I’ve had water stolen from me on a few occasions. I had this crazy notion that by wrapping my drink in a shirt…one, someone would know the water belonged to someone and two, the shirt would keep it insulated and prevent freezing. It did the trick! Ok, the fact that Second Street is basically in the middle of nowhere and the bottle was hidden in the crook of a tree probably helped. I was just proud of my ingenuity and thankful for a beverage.
At about mile 6, I paused my Nike Plus app, and had my first pit stop.
Then, I was off on the second leg of my run, my inaugural visit to the Sunbridge Conservation Area. Since this was my first trip to Sunbridge, I was a bit worried about getting lost. And guess what? I got lost! Kinda… I’m pretty sure I ended up on some unofficial trails, but I could see the Missouri River the majority of the time. And, I had my iPhone. All was good.
By this time, the ground had become warmer and squishier. The view… stunning…
I ran past an old family cemetery surrounded by a wrought iron fence, and wondered who was buried there? Is it haunted?
I ran past an observation deck and stopped to admire the scene.
I ran up hills and down ravines, hopped trails and ended up in a beautiful stone building. There were identical hearths on both sides of the foundation. Who had lived here?
Now, I want to know more and began to investigate. I wandered around the building and found a second stone foundation. What?!? Really, who lived here? I realized nothing more could be learned today so I decided to get back to running! I went to continue my run only to see trails branching out in all directions… Ha! So, after a bit of disorientation, I pulled out my phone to look at a map and listened for the traffic. Bingo! I was able to gradually walk/run till I could see I-229 and made my way back onto a road. From there, it was a return to the 2nd Street “Entrance” to Krug Park and my second water break.
And, on to my next adventure! As I was gulping down water, I realized a different sensation. Oh my… I do believe this was the first time I HAD to go to pee in the middle of a run with no facilities available. Still, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. So, for the first time ever, I hid behind some trees and took care of business…and felt much better!
During this time, I had paused the Nike Plus App. Some people probably think I’m weird to keep track of my runs, but I like to see how far I’ve ran and where I’ve been. It was during my time here I accidentally stopped my Nike Plus.
So, I started a new run! For the third leg of my jaunt, it was back into Krug Park to finish the trails.
By now, the temperatures continued to rise and the ground continued to thaw. Squishy ground is now a shoe-sucking mudpit.
Even being as careful as possible, an inevititable slide down a hill ensued. I laughed the entire time. I had to walk/slip/slide/grab onto trees the last 1/2-1 mile, but the trail was conquered.
I was back to the Duck Pond in no time.
With trails, running switchbacks plays havoc with your GPS. Most programs can’t correctly gauge your milage. Mine said I had gone about 12.5 miles. Even though I had most likely ran more than that, I wasn’t ready to be done! So, after a swish of water at my car, I was off and running again. This time on pavement. Flat, smooth (kind of smooth) sidewalk… I took a trip down Saint Joe Avenue and back. I smiled at everyone but only noticed stares in return.
Turns out. Mud… Head to Toe!
I love running around in the woods. Trail Runs. It’s a time to clear your mind of worries and fill it with wonder.
What an adventure! Who would like to join me?
Artwork Thanks: 2003-08-04 Ducks at Krug Park, St. Joe, MO by drboman on Flickr. All other images are my own.