After Friday night's smartini fest, my husband and I set out for a day hike up in the Catskills. Being that we are city folk, we do not own a car. So we rented a white Mustang and headed up Saturday morning. The weather was perfect for hiking, and we were pretty psyched. We had staked out a couple trails we thought might work; the first being quite popular since it offers great views due to its high level of elevation. But when we set out on this trail, it was covered in snow and all uphill, not to mention icy spots and patches of snow that would drop a foot or so when you stepped on it. We hiked about 20 minutes up and decided this was not so fun, and potentially dangerous due to the lack of traction.
So we got back in the car and headed to Mink Hollow Trail, which takes you all along Mink Hollow River. Nice. This was what we had pictured. A nice, somewhat challenging hike (due to lots of rocks, inclines, some snow, and other "tricky footing" situations). We were really enjoying ourselves when we came to the part of the trail that has you cross over the Mink Hollow River and continue on the other side. The water level is quite high at this time of year--the melting snow contributing to more water than is otherwise present. So the section you had to cross was filled with slippery rocks and logs and raging waters. We looked around and began to tentatively make our way across, balancing carefully on each rock and using sticks for support. At one point, I slipped and my boot hit ground, dousing it in icy, angry water. I recovered and used the stick to pull my foot back to safety on a rock. I tried another way...next thing I knew, my foot slips, I go down, and the waters decided to fully coat me with its frigid liquid by rolling me over to my back. I struggled to get up; simulatneously laughing and panicking that my camera was getting soaked and would be useless. Ok, I wasn't really laughing; more like madly proclaiming that "I fell in!" in case my husband hadn't noticed (he had made it across and was watching the show). So he instructs me to just get back up and go back to the other side. Fine. Easy enough. I managed to get up, take inventory of my limbs, and cross the rocks to safety. So now I'm dripping wet, shivering, laughing, and thinking this will make a great story. My husband gave me his shirt and I was able to ditch my wet tops for that and a semi-dry sweatshirt in my backpack. There were, however, a couple lakes in my boots. We decided to head back since it was a little past four o'clock. So, we're trudging along, reviewing how I fell in, and laughing to ourselves about my little swim. Sometime later, we're about to emerge from the trail and finally change out of the wet boots and get into a warm car, and I instinctively go to grab the rental car keys....
I do the "missing-keys" shake. No sound of jingling keys. Immediately, I know where the keys are. But that is a far from comforting thought. OMG! I say to my husband. I don't have the keys!! He rarely panics on the outside, so his calmness kept me from freaking out to my full potential. What are we gonna do?? We are miles away from any main road, no cell phone service, all our stuff is in the car, and we are supposed to return the car to Hertz tonight! My husband just asks, How much more daylight do you think we have? I reply with about an hour or so. This is not good. The plan is to hike back to where I fell in and look around. Let's just say, we arrived at the point where the trail crosses the river in half the time it took to hike there the first time. Sweating, breathing heavy, and feeling quite defeated, we searched the area where I had changed into the dry clothes. Maybe they fell out on the trail. Nope. My husband said he was going to go down to the river and check it out. I was supposed to keep checking the trail. Listening to the sound of mad waters crashing over rocks, I frantically searched the snow/leaves/mud/rocks combo of trails. Every so often I'd look down and see what was happening in the river...praying he wouldn't fall in too. After a while, I look down, saw my husband look up to me...and I raised my hands, palms up...the universal "we're totally f*cked" gesture...and watch him raise his hand....which is HOLDING THE KEYS!! I shouted so loud there was an echo, and even gave him a solo round of applause. He climbed back up to the trail as I stared in disbelief. I wanted to see the keys. There they were; the yellow key chain reading "Hertz", the reason for our good fortune. He had found them wegded between two rocks about five feet downriver from where I had fallen in; he had reached into the rumbling waters grasping at the faint piece of yellow that didn't seem to resemble a natural stream object. Were we lucky! You bet. My apartment keys, of course, were not rescued. They will most likely be recovered by someone fishing once the water level has receded a bit. Whatever, though--we had the important keys. I'm providing a few visuals to take the place of a thousand words...
Trailhead and views of the trail
And, the raging waters I had the pleasure of swimming in:
Miracles Part 2
We got home sometime after midnight, sore, exhausted, and with newly acquired bruises. Waking up the next day for Scotland was not easy. I felt dizzy and sick, and was more interested in going back to sleep than running in any kind of race. But I had said I was going to be there, and I wanted to run at some point, so why not just go run a loop of the park?
- Lots of people
- Crowded first mile, ran with a Flyer friend in 8:13
- Feeling lightheaded, my hat further exascerbating the dizziness with its low brim
- Mile two at 7:53 (Flyer friend sped ahead)
- A nice downhill heading east down Harlem Hill (7:49)
- Taking it easy, breathing hard
- Mile four at 8:23
- Wishing this were over
- Finding mile five at 7:50
- Knowing there is one point two to go
- Mantra becomes "just get to the finish line and you can hurl if necessary"
- Shortly before mile six, flygirl take a pic (I squeeze a smile)
- Hit mile six in 7:45
- Realize that "point two" appears much longer than it should be
- But....also realize time goal of sub-fifty is possible
- With one eye on my watch and one eye on the finish line, I give it all I've got
- Manage the point two in 1:32
- And cross the finish line in 49:27, a PR by 33 seconds!
A little mental math told me my average pace was under eights. This is good. I haven't run a decent 10K in about 7 years. And sub-fifty has been my goal as long as I can remember. And finally, it happened! The second miracle. Immediately after finishing, I felt loads better. The nauseas feeling departed, and I was able to schmooze with Flyers before heading home.
So what have we learned here?
- Keep important keys in a ZIPPED up pocket when crossing dangerous rivers.
- Trick yourself into feeling sick before running a race, thereby alleviating any pressure that might otherwise be present.
- Celebrate PRs and miracles!!
- Total weekly mileage: 18.5
- Lifting: twice
- Miles walked/hiked: 26