Hooray for trail running. Hooray for getting out of town and enjoying a beautiful trail system. I went down to some old stomps in Morgantown, WV, the birthplace of Don Knots. You might know him as Opie from Old Show I Can’t Remember. Morgantown has this beautiful network of trails that I ran often for a couple of years. I would use  it to train for the Pittsburgh marathon and for all my speed work. I lived a few miles from it for a couple of years. Tasty! The elevation is on a real gentle slope. Most rail trails are flat and predictable, but not Deckers Creek. It rises over seven hundred feet in elevation over the course of about 13.5 miles.

Understandably, if one were to host a half marathon on this gentle downward slope, and bus hundreds of runners to the starting line in late May every year, one could expect hundreds of runners celebrating a fast finish after running back down the trail through the mountains. And that happens, understandably. My half marathon PR is on that trail, a 1 hr 33 minute smasher.

I forgot my stupid Garmin, but that’s fine. When I used to run this trail I would lose cell phone signal.  I was glad I had my $3 ebony lady’s petite Casio watch. It had a stopwatch that didn’t record hours. It was absolutely the cheapest Casio watch I was able to find, and today, it was useful in helping me to set my return pace.

I needed to quicken my half marathon pace. I would go up slow and blast back down the hills. Yesterday was hard, but I slept like a – I don’t know – someone who slept  eleven hours hours and really enjoyed it.

I ran the Deckers Creek 1/2 marathon twice, in 2011 and 2012. I have a PR for that distance on that course, at  hr and 33 minutes. I love the cascading pools of milky jade and vermillion water running down the slate boulders below rubble ravines with their clutches of pines, sycamores, oak and obtuse piles of cracked rocks. Al

I wanted a chance to run it one more time. I miss seeing this:

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Humongous mine
Humongous Greer mine

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Just some nice woods.

And a giant mine.

I climbed at about a 9:56 pace – a little less. I stopped  long enough to get these photos.

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I saw a couple dozen people on the trail close to town, but further up the trail, it was just me.  I turned around at far end of the mine and started back down, getting gradually faster. I did the return at 7:10 min/mile pace. My quads blew out at the eight mile. Mile nine had me whimpering and the last 1/3 mile  was me with slobber trailing, slack-mouthed and pumping with big strides, shoveling the end of the run, digging into the final quarter mile like I was looking for something tremendously valuable. I found my car! Woo hoo!

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A run on Deckers Creek Rail Trail

And then I found 30 cents! What I do with that is my business. Stars shine on the lucky, the truly blessed. Deal with it.

Recovery dinner: Oh, for dinner, I cooked organic cauliflower boiled in chicken broth and ghee, pork cutlets roasted in a BBQ sauce made of home-made local pumpkin butter/Frank’s wing sauce – good lord that was easy and tasted wonderful – and some sweet potato fries. Baby kale salad with organic carrots and cherry tomatoes.

The only thing I’d eaten for lunch was three gels on the trail, a bowl of oats for breakfast. I peeled the potatoes and carrots using both the forward and reverse stroke. I shaved off precious nanoseconds from my bulk peeling PB. Again, the Garmin would have been useless to measure my PPS (peels per second).

The entire afternoon I was trying to craft a haiku with a line from Chico Marx, “There aint no sanity clause.” Absolutely impossible. 

 I got 18.7 miles, at 9:56/7:10 paces. I feel like I can pick up an nice marathon in March. Getting stoked!

Janathon total: 115 miles

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