Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thursday, 11/19/09 Walker Ranch

11.5 miles
~2600 vertical

Allison, Sierra and I headed out to Walker for a lap. Decided for whatever reason to go clockwise, maybe thinking it would be better to ascend the steep section in icy conditions instead of descending it. Six of one, half dozen of another.

The trail was mostly dry for the first rolling section, but as expected, it became snow/ice covered for the switchbacking, North facing descent through the trees, so I put on the Microspikes which helped tremendously. Once down near the T junction, I removed them, as I knew they really would not be of much help for a while.

Here the trail became extremely muddy. Not the type that sticks to your shoes, but really slippery stuff, so viscous that it created an odd form of levitation unlike anything I have ever experienced and I could barely stay upright on level ground. I was tiptoeing gingerly, but still having a majorly tough time, so I decided to step up to the right onto the grassy buffer. In an instant, I was down on the ground, the wind knocked out of me with my shin smashed against the only substantial rock within a 100 foot radius. I was not even going fast, just gingerly making my way through, but I went down so hard and quick, like the guy on the "Wet Floor" sign, but sideways.

I let out a loud barrage of expletives and tried to shrug it off. I examined my shin and it was bloody and starting to swell instantly. For a moment I thought it was broke, but I knew better deep down. I paced for a bit, debating whether or not to keep running, wait for Allison and hike, or just make my way back to the car and lick my wounds.

Forward I went, at a slow and even more cautious hobble. Conditions improved, as did my leg, so I decided to not let it ruin my day. The remainder of the loop was mostly snow and ice, plenty of mud and a little dry ground. Microspikes went on/off several times as necessary to aid progress. The final climb back to the car was entirely dry, so I upped the pace from hard easy to mid moderate, finishing in a glacial 1:18:20. I then backtracked 2 miles (down, across the river and a good part of the climb back up to the far parking lot) to meet Allison and Sierra who were taking their time. By the time we got in the car, I was cold, hungry, beat up and ready to be done.

My shin is still throbbing as I write this. This was my first crash trail running in years and certainly my most painful. It was also probably the first one that nobody saw, as the few times I have gone down in the past were due to me being momentarily distracted by others on the trail.