Chuck's email said to be at the trailhead at 7 a.m. (ugh...that's an hour from my house), and I wasn't too much after that. It was just three of us: Chuck, Scotty, and me. I was the weakest runner there, but I'm pretty used to that. Scotty had some pretty funny stories, including one which had me almost crying laughing and kind of bit me in the ass later.
The Trimble Outdoors site describes the Chubb Trail as a "7-miler is popular with mountain bikers and dayhikers, crossing limestone hills and following the Meramec River to a parkland with bison and elk". We actually started and ended at the Lone Elk trailhead. Here's what the elevation profile for our run looked like.
|Looks like fun, huh?|
After going downhill from Lone Elk park, you run along a flat area near railroad tracks. This was probably the worst area of the trail as far as being sloppy. Most of the trail was suprisingly dry, but I guess because this was a lower area it didn't drain as well. We did a little splashing as we wove across the trail looking for the driest part.
|Nice, flat area|
|That's actually the river to the right of the boys.|
I really need to either stop running to take my pictures or get a camera that will take better pictures while I run.
|It was even prettier than it looks. I swear.|
Q&A with Kate
Q. Does a bear $#*@ in the woods?
A. Yes, and so did I. It was not one of the better outdoor experiences of my life, but it certainly beats the kind of pantylines that adult diapers would leave under running tights.
Coming out of the prairie section, we crossed a road and ran into this guy:
|This is what happens to runners who can't keep up. Gulp.|
Once we got up the big hill, there were still smaller hills to climb before we got to the next trailhead. We made it to West Tyson in 84 minutes. 12 minute miles, not bad for all the hills. And while I said "we", that's because I think I was the only one who remembered to start a stopwatch. You can be sure that, without me, the guys would have been there much quicker. Once again, I fulfilled my role in keeping it a long slow run for them.
We stopped briefly at the West Tyson trailhead to refuel. There was an outhouse there...too bad I couldn't have waited. There was also a sign reminding you to wash your hands before eating...but no pump or any kind of water there with which to wash your hands. ?? Uh...thanks. Anyway, we got back on the trail, and before we'd gone more than a few hundred feet, this shirtless guy absolutely flew past us from the other direction. He was cruising. Before long, he blew by me again going in our direction now.
Q. When are your angel wings of questionable veracity?
A. When they're tattooed on your back.
In the flash that the guy was in front of me before he was out of sight, I could see a big pair of angel wings tattooed on his back. We had some discussion about what we should have tattooed on us. Chuck suggested lead balls on his feet. I thought I'd like some helium balloons tattooed on mine. Any little bit of help would be welcome. :)
Shirtless guy also didn't appear to be carrying water, but I guess when it only takes you 15 minutes to run 7 miles, you can just stash a drink at each end.
Running down the big hill was much nicer than running up it. For me, anyway. I think Chuck enjoyed the trip up a little more, but his was a bit shorter than mine was. :) As other runners were heading up, it was my turn to talk to people who gave no response or just looked at me in exhaustion. The guys cruised down and waited for me at the bottom by headless sled boy. I stopped to take a couple of pictures...this time, because it was so pretty rather than just to catch my breath.
|The angle of this picture makes it look steeper than it actually is.|
|Looking to the side of the trail|
|Watch your step!|
Q. How is running with boys different from running with girls?
A. I'm not sure what it's like to run with girls, because it so rarely happens, but I'm a girl so I guess I'm somewhat qualified to answer this one. As a girl, I take my pictures like this: Ooh, that's pretty! Running with boys, I take my pictures like this: Hey, get a picture of this freaky headless statue! Cool...take a picture of what's left of this deer! (At least, they said it was a deer.)
I kept thinking about that hill ahead of me, and then there it was.
|And finally it levelled out. Ahhh.|
Q: What the heck makes me think I can run a marathon?
A: I have no idea.
I had a great time. I've never run or hiked on the Chubb Trail, and I'd definitely go back there again. If it was a little warmer, I'd probably have needed to figure something else out about water. I just carried one handheld bottle with me. If there was a pump or something at West Tyson, that would've been perfect. All in all, though, I couldn't have asked for a nicer day of running ...and the company was pretty nice, too!
I was actually scheduled for 16 miles yesterday, and since we only did 14 at Chubb, I tacked on an extra 2.8 at Creve Coeur Lake park while N. was at volleyball practice. This part was on a paved trail. A paved trail that was packed with people. One pretty funny thing...I saw a sign that said the trail was 2.8 miles, and I thought it was a loop but wasn't sure, so about a mile into it, I asked a guy who was running.
"Does this trail loop?"
"Well, where are you wanting to go?" Ummm...if it's a loop it shouldn't matter where I want to go. But OK, I pointed. "Well, yeah, it loops, but it's a long way away."
That kind of threw me. I only wanted to run my 2 miles, but I was willing to run a little extra. Then I realized...that extra 1.8 miles left on the trail was his "long way". Last year, a mile was a long, long way for me, and now I've run 14 miles on two straight weekends. That's pretty cool. I've come a long way, baby.