It started with a FaceBook post asking if folks were interested in going from Hamburg to the Tea Room and back. I knew where Hamburg was but wasn't sure where the Tea Room and certainly had no idea what was involved in getting there.
I commented that I'd love to try it but was sure I couldn't keep up. This was met with promises that I would not be left behind no matter how slow I was....I don't think they imagined just how slow I'd be!
We met at the start, divided into two groups - slow and fast - and off we went. The lead runner for the slow group, Larry, is one of the nicest people you'll ever meet, and he promised he would stay with me.
I've only run the 5mile loop, twice, ever so I had no idea of what I was in for. The pace was nice and easy, and we were definitely moving downhill at a steady rate. Two thoughts crossed my mind - my quads are going to be really sore and this is going to be tough coming back.
The trail is really pretty in spite of the pain it inflicts. It's quite technical with a lot of rocks and streams. I was very grateful to be able to follow Larry's lead because I had to run head down almost the whole time and would have missed the turns without him.
want a little cheese with that whine? these babies were tough!
We made it through the valley, up to the parking lot below the Tea Room and took a minute to regroup and catch our breath. While chatting, a couple of the guys were surprised to learn that I had never run "the valley" before. And one of them commented that we were running one of the most challenging 6 mile stretches in Frederick. Oh cool, and we get to turn around and do it again! gulp
We pressed on to the top of the mountain to the Tea Room and then back down to the parking lot where a couple of guys had water for us to refill. Good thing we had it because for the first time ever I drank all the water in my handheld (and still didn't have to pee!).
I was a little worried on our way back. I was drenched in sweat - dripping off my skirt - and I felt a little funky. I had been taking 3-4 Enduralytes/hour but only brought 3 Gu's with me. I also had just straight water instead of some sort of additional fuel. Serious noob mistakes because that was nowhere near enough calories or carbs. One of the other guys was feeling rough too so Larry stayed back with him and me, and we moved pretty slowly on the uphills.
A few times I wanted to just lie down in the streams we crossed or just crawl on my hands and knees up the hills. Thankfully better sense prevailed. Really dumb things started to coming to mind and I kept saying to myself, "there's no crying in baseball or in trail running. " and "just keep moving and be grateful you can." [such a mom thing to say!] And I was craving a Coke like crazy... which is weird because I almost rarely drink soda.
I was never so happy to see a parking lot in my life and quickly downed 2 Gatorades and ate an orange. Surprisingly, we were only about 10 minutes behind the middle group [the speedsters were long gone for more miles when we got there.]
After picking up the kids, we went to the nearest fast food place where I drank 3 big Cokes and inhaled a hamburger.
Today my quads are really sore, but I'm so glad I did the run. I did it! It was hard. It was definitely ugly, but the next time I do it, it will be less hard and less ugly. ;)
Thank you, Larry!
Many thanks to the very kind and supportive folks in the Steeplechasers... some of the best running partners you'll find!