Super Bowl Sunday afternoon was sunny and mild here in NC, so instead of the usual pre-game debauchery, I grabbed my friend Hannah and we set out for the Birkhead Mountain wilderness Trail. It is a bit of a drive to get there from where we are at, but I figured with the dawn of the new ice age in this country, we could stand some global warming. (Anybody seen Al Gore??)
After parking at the trail head, we warmed up a bit, then set off. My friend Hannah is part Native American, and immediately began channelling that energy as she glided along the trail effortlessly. I tend to start off at a slow rumble, and was staggering along the trail like Charlie Sheen at the Two and a Half Men Christmas party.
Settling in on the trail, I got into a nice rhythym, just in time for the hills. The trail was relatively empty, save for a few hikers and folks with their dogs. Our pre-run debate on mileage was something like a country auction. I believe the bidding started off at six miles, and somewhere between the car and the trail head that figure increased to nine. So the deal was we run 4.5 out, then 4.5 back.
Having ran with me before, Hannah knows that when I start responding to questions with monosyllabic grunts, this is my way of telling her she can go on ahead, I am done trying to pace her. Left to my own devices, I play my favorite running game "Gene, don't look at your Garmin!!". Finally, we approach the 4.5 mile turn around.
I take on some water and a Gu, and we begin our return trip to the trail head. I pass check point "poodle" where two women are walking their little dogs, which bark incessantly at me. We only make one wrong turn, of course it has to be on a downhill, so we trudge back up and reorient ourselves and continue on.
Ah, the last mile. Forget that I know that Hannah is probably at the car already. I feel good. As I pass a group of older folks hiking on the trail, a man calls out "Matthew!" Apparently I have a twin I did not know about. This man swears up and down that I look exactly like a kid he taught in high school twenty years ago! Seeing me again back at the parking lot, he just shakes his head. "Looks just like him" we chat for a few minutes. It's a nice way to end the run.
We make it back just in time for the super bowl, thankfully missing the attempted murder of our National Anthem.
Plugging in the ole' Garmin to the laptop, it tells me we climbed a total of 3,050 feet of elevation during our run.
Maybe not worthy of a Gatorade bath, but I will take it.