Since hunting is allowed on the East Side of Bradbury Mountain State Park I haven't run there at all during the month of November, although other Trail Monsters have been going on Sundays, I just never go out there. I had been suffering from serious Bradbury withdrawal and decided that I needed to get out there on Saturday, and although it was still hunting season I figured we'd be okay if we stuck to the West Side trails where hunting isn't permitted. I wore some of my most obnoxiously bright colors to be sure I'd be seen just in case.
Given that this was the day before Blackstrap Hell II I didn't want to go out for too long or push the pace so I planned a relatively easy jaunt around one lap of the Breaker course. I say relatively easy because this has to be the most difficult loop within the whole park, no mater what pace you run it at it's never really going to be easy.
Emma came along but instead of running she brought our new Border Collie puppy Bolt for a hike up the mountain. She's only nine weeks old but we figured it wasn't too early to start getting her used to the Trail Monster lifestyle. In case anyone is wondering, she's named after Bolt. Not Bolt. We will wait about a year before taking her out running with us, but until then she'll be spending plenty of time walking in the woods with us.
Jim, Chuck and Lily came along for the run on the very wet trails. I was expecting mud but we were probably the first ones out on the trails since the torrential rain we received the day before so it was mostly puddles of clear water than we encountered. We managed to meet up with Emma on the summit and then headed off onto the Tote Road trail. From here I decided to jump onto Krista's Trail, a nice section of single track that I'd only run once or twice before, but I had forgotten how long it was. When I realized that Emma would probably be finished walking with Bolt long before me I decided to take a shortcut back the parking lot. Chuck joined me but Jim and Lily took the long way back.
It was great to wet my feet again on the trails of Bradbury and I was glad that Bolt made it all the way up to the top, although Emma had to carry her part of the way down. The pace actually felt quicker than the 10:27 that my Garmin reported, so I was glad that I didn't end up going any longer. I've had a lingering tightness in my right calf/achilles ever since Stone Cat and I didn't want to push it too much right before Blackstrap Hell II. I've found it hard to get back into a rhythym with my running since the Stone Cat 50, partly due to being busy at work and at home with a new puppy, but there seems to be a bit of a funk that I need to shake off and hopefully running hard at the race tomorrow will help do that.
distance: 4.53 miles
weather: cool, overcast
conditions: wet, big puddles
gear: Inov-8 Mudroc 290, wool socks, shorts, long sleeve shirt, singlet, hat