So, today was tough to wake up for. Over 15 miles ahead of us and my legs were flat just climbing out of bed.
The Chef followed us to Lismore Road, we dropped off the truck and headed up to the Sucker River trailhead along the Fox Farm Road. She told us to be careful. Leo took off down the trail. There’s no way to get four hours of running done except by running. So we headed up into the clearcuts of yesterday.
I was glad it didn’t seem to rain last night like they predicted. I walked uphill for the first mile and decided I’d start running whenever I damn well felt like it. That happened about 20 minutes in. Then we got moving. While we were in the clear, we could see the whole first go of Vipers coming home from Snoopy. Later in the day, we could hear the second go takeoff and watched those Vipers come back and land. We were running for a long time today.
Two weird things to mention today. First, I used to fuel up on these runs with my Triberry Gu gels. Caffeine in them. Great stuff. Been using that one flavor for years in Grandma’s Marathon and the Birkie. The caffeine is super. Well, about a month ago, I was eating one on the trail and just couldn’t stomach it. Practically hurled. Done. I can’t eat another one. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get past it. Not sure if I hit some mental wall or it has something to do with running for hours and hours. But I just can’t bear to eat another one. That’ll be a problem for some of the events I usually do. Even today, when I’ve started to bring along salty trail mixes. I took one handful today and couldn’t stand the idea of eating. Three and a half hours of running and I felt okay. And I only took up maybe 100 calories. Strange.
The second thing. About two weeks ago, I noticed some patches of missing hair on my legs. A horizontal section of hair on the front of each mid-thigh was gone. I couldn’t figure it out. Then, somehow, I looked down while running. Right where the bottom of my shorts hit my legs is where all the hair is gone. I guess I’ve been running a lot.
We found some impressive work by an overzealous beaver. When that tree falls (an evergreen to boot) I’d like to see the critter drag it to the dam or lodge. Several times we shared trails with ATV trails and the North Shore snowmachine trail. Apparently snowmachiners have more money for bridges and trail maintenance than hikers.
We ran through about a mile long section of ridges topped with a beautiful oak stand. Saw a couple deer stands in there. No surprise why. You could see forever through the old hardwoods. Leo took several dips today in the lowlands. The topper was the skankiest mud hole he’s ever picked. He did what we call “frog legs.” He lays out completely flat on his belly with his rear legs straight out behind him. I ended up giving him the bath he was supposed to get after tomorrow’s last day. We eventually found the Jean Duluth road and limped up to the truck. There was a nice older couple named Rogers that had a border collie. They had just finished their walk. They saw my T-shirt and told me they had lived in Alaska in the 60’s and 70’s. We had a nice talk and parted ways. Nobody on these trails is there to have a bad time.
On this, the penultimate day, I started to realize I better find a substitute for this activity immediately after we finish. Or Leo and I are going to sink into a deep, dark depression.
Today’s Data: North Shore Shmo: Leg 40
One day left to donate to the Wounded Warrior Project via North Shore Shmo! You know you want to.
T-Shirt of the Day:
I did a 10k once in Alaska. It was called The Annihilator. One of my favorite shirts. It was a race in the town of Nenana, southwest of Fairbanks. You had to cross the Tanana River on an active railroad bridge where you could look down through the ties at the swirling water. You climbed up to a TACAN station on top of a mountain and rappelled off a cliff using a rope. Then you flailed downhill along some trails and ended up at a scree slope that spat you out onto the highway. Then you ran back to town. Type II fun. Like today’s 15 miler. What I can’t figure is how I have a shirt that says 1990. I didn’t get to Alaska until December 1991. Probably didn’t run it until 1992 or later. Maybe old race shirts they had stockpiled? It’s a mystery.