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Monday, February 21, 2011

Chubb Trail training run

I'm lucky to have some crazy friends who are training for the Double Chubb 50K and thus needing to log some substantial trail miles.  I'm even luckier that they let this new, slow running tag along with them.  Having stronger runners all around me makes me push harder than I typically would on my own.  And can I tell you how much I love having someone else plan it and tell me where to show up? It's pretty great. 

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?
We've had some amazing weather for the past few days, and Sunday was no exception.  I think it started out around 50 and the day topped out in the low 70's.  Amazing running weather!  As we started down that first hill, though, I was already thinking, It's going to suck coming back up! 

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. 

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Nice, flat area
Once you cross over the railroad tracks, the trail turns to singletrack and passes for a while along the Meramec River.  This was a really pretty section of the trail.  It had a few little up and downs, but nothing too strenuous.


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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.
After the trail turns away from the river, you pass into a wider section of the trail.  The area on one side is wooded, and the other side is prairie.  It was beautiful in the morning sun with the hills beyond the prairie grass.  At this point, I was feeling really lucky to be outside. :)

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It was even prettier than it looks.  I swear.
I was also feeling regretful that, in my rush to get to the trailhead on time, I hadn't stopped to use a bathroom.  Sigh.  The one bad thing about trail running is the lack of bathroom facilities, though I guess you could say there are bathrooms all around you.  It all depends on how you look at it.

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:

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This is what happens to runners who can't keep up.  Gulp.
I started to envy the headless boy on the next stretch of the trail.  Up, up, up.  Rocks, and roots, and hills, oh my!  And in addition to all the typical trail hazards, you had to watch your step for one additional reason.  The Chubb trail is a multi-use trail, and one of those uses is horseback riding.  I don't know what they're feeding those horses, but we passed some prolific mounds on our way (sorry, no pictures of that).
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Up

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Up

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Up
You may notice that you can only see the guys in the first hill picture.  That's because they are mountain goats.  You may also notice that I have more pictures from this section of the trail.  That's because I had plenty of time to snap pictures as I gasped for breath and attempted to not die.  As I got near the top, a woman coming down said something to me.  I have no idea what.  I think I couldn't hear her over my heartbeat and breath.  (It was probably something like "Do you need medical attention?" lol)

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&A

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.

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The angle of this picture makes it look steeper than it actually is.

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Looking to the side of the trail

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Watch your step!

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Um....trail?
After coming down the big hill, it was back to the prairie section and past some remains.  We had seen them on the way out, leading to mention of the mountain lion sightings.  One the way back, we had to stop and take pictures of them. 

Q&A

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.)


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Very scenic
Back along the river, back along the soggy trail by the railroad tracks.  It was funny, because at one point I looked ahead and each of us was on a different side of the trail in our attempts to stay dry-ish.  I wasn't all that worried about it since I was almost done.  If I'd had another 8 or so miles to go like Chuck (thank goodness I didn't have another 8 or so miles like Chuck!!), it might have been a different story.

I kept thinking about that hill ahead of me, and then there it was.

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Up

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Up


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Up (whimper)

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And finally it levelled out.  Ahhh.
I met back up with the guys at the parking lot, where they were nice enough to tell me that I did well for a newer runner.  If I had a big ego about my running, it would be hard to keep running with all these better runners.  As it is, I'm glad I can go out and train and have a good time and hopefully keep getting better.  That said...


Q&A
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.

16 comments:

  1. Love the new header!

    Kudos to you for getting out on the trail and putting your miles in! Sometimes I don't get why folks go round and round on paved "trails" my wife explained to me that most people are not crazy like me...

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  2. I love putting in my miles on dirt trails too. It's nice to not have to worry about traffic, plus the confined space makes me feel like I'm going way faster than I really am.

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  3. I ran a trail very much like that today. 7 miles too. Mine was actually paved for about half of it, so a little taste of both.

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  4. Super cool post. Great pics. Maybe a little TMI in one part of the post :-) Although Adam The Boring Runner(funniest Blogger on the Planet) would be proud of you.

    I have a trail 50k on April 10th and I have NEVER run on a trail. And, I'll be out of town for the next two weekends. I suppose I should try one before my race.

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  5. The pictures all look like they're from Blair Witch Project!

    Especially that disintegrating animal thing - which was AWESOME!

    That 300 foot climb is a pretty big climb! Doesn't that help you in marathon training?

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  6. double Kudos to you! those hills look killer!

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  7. If only my morning workouts were as interesting as your weekend runs........
    PS- a big couch tatoo is the one I would pick! ;)

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  8. Great Report Kate. I didn't know you were taking all those pictures along the way. The one with my new headless friend came out great.

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  9. You must be one tough runner! Lots of great pics!

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  10. "mountain goats" funny, that is how I feel anytime I hit any hill and I run NOTHING like what I see in your AMAZING photos.. Tough tough run, but super cool for sure, I would trip and fall and need Mr. Angel Wings to carry me back down..

    Hey when you gotta go...well you know..

    Good run!!!!

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  11. Great recap of a great run! Well done Kate, that was a good run in all departments. Love the Q & A's! I take photos mostly to give myself a chance to rest. Super Kate is cool!

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  12. Dont worry about being the slowest runner out there. Just remember we get the best value out of our Race fees.Super pics.

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  13. You HAVE come a long way, lady...I am fascinated to read your blogs because I have been running for so freaking long that it is so refreshing to see someone newer out there going farther than they ever imagined. Heck yes you can run a marathon and you will be so ready. Excellent post and fabulous pictures, a great run with the "guys" :) (I run with a bunch of guys in the summer...well, I used to when I was running stronger! Hehe).

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  14. Great run on the Chubb Trail, SuperKate! You've really excelled in your running, keep up the hard work! :)

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  15. Great trail run and I love the pics (I'm not gonna say as usual :-)).

    So when do the SK T-shirts go on sale? Do we have to wait until you have a sponsor?

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  16. HA!! Chris K was right - this post was a riot.

    I love the Q/A about running w/ boys vs girls. I'd totally take pictures of dead stuff too

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