Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Black Toenail Society's first Sunday run

A noble group (minus John Nobles) ran 6.8 miles on Turkey. This was the first "official" Sunday training run for the Black Toenail Society, the Ultra Training ensemble at RunnersWorld. These weekly runs will happen every Sunday in training for Three Days to 100K--although I take trainees for other ultras as well. The plan is to run with the TOTs, especially since they're a lot of the same people anyway. A perk, is I'll get my miles ramped in the process as well. :-)

From left to right, Jason, Jana, Wes, Steve, and Meredith joined me for a scheduled 6 miles. Seemed easy enough.

I had came prepared to scratch my way around on ice. Made sense what with the ice storm we've had for the past two days, and the nighttime low of 28°. Pictured above are 10 #10 3/4" hex sheet metal screws with 5/16" heads systematically inserted into my Hoka One One Stinson Evo Trail shoes. (Luv em--I'm on my third pair, and I'm THRILLED that RunnersWorld is now carrying them!!)  I chose heavy duty slightly longer screws for the extra thick soles, thinking they'd stay in--the Hokas have a pretty soft  marshmallowish sole--but I played it safe and kept the insertions at the outer perimeters of the shoe. No likey ouchie things poking my footsies.

This ingenious preparation, however, was useless. Seems perhaps the ground was still too warm for ice to stay frozen, and we were treated to soft slightly muddy trails. Hokas are mot the best mud shoes, and the hex screws were not a factor.

But ice on the trees WAS a factor in our run. We were parting the branches as soon as we lit out. Turkey has taken several hits in recent years. The ice storm of December 2007, the fire of 2010, the drought years of 2011 and 2012, and high winds from micro-bursts and tornadoes has left all of the mountain with an population of struggling and dying trees. It's just nature's way I suppose. The strong trees survive, and the week ones lay over. In places, the trailz were completely missing, buried by tons of ice on the twigs and branches of victimized trees. But it was a fun adventure plowing around and through them. In an eerie way, it was beautiful.

TOT regular Bill McKee met us at the north end of the mountain, and offered his picture snapping skills so good old TZ could be in the group pic.

Maybe it's just because it different, but even the more drab sections of the trail seemed spectacular.

When the alarm went off at 6:30, I wanted so bad to burrow down under the covers and skip the run--which of course as a group leader I won't do. But seeing the mountain on ice made this such a great albeit slow run.

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