Day 36 - Thomas, WV, to Palmyra, VA
Run - Blackwater Canyon, Thomas, WV
From the eyes of Charlie
Today started off nice and slow for me, as I pushed off from the airbnb about 45 mins after Bailee and Nico left. Sometimes in the midst of all of our very early mornings, it's nice to put some time between rolling out of bed and rolling onto the road/trail. After a leisurely start, I rolled out of the town of Thomas, WV, and hopped onto the trail about a mile into the run.
It began innocently enough, with a wide, slightly downhill gravel section. It was easy to imagine it as a repurposed rail-trail, like so many others in this country (just without the asphalt thankfully). But then, two miles later, a big gate pops up in the middle of the trail and the next seven miles to the next town are all beautiful, shady single track! That was the kind of running I got to experience for the rest of the time, and plus up until the turnaround point there was a generous downhill to boot. One by one, I ran into Nico and Bailee, who each were having a grand old time traipsing through the forest. Memorable Bailee quote of the day as she sips from her twin, chest-mounted water bottles: "Chuck, have you ever wondered what it's like to drink from your own breasts? Well, this is what it's like *sip*"
That was by far the most entertaining part of the rest of my run because shortly after I ran into Bailee, I turned around and starting pounding up the very gradual hill to do my 6 miles home. Initially I felt pretty good, my breathing was a little strained but I felt strong. Plus, I had just eaten an EvoHemp energy bar and drank maybe 6 oz from my waterbottle. Also I forgot to mention before, I stuck my phone in the waterbottle pouch and was blasting Kendrick's new album out loud (!!!) like a trail music traitor. Good thing I didn't see anybody on the trail besides Nico and Bailee so that I couldn't get judged for having terrible trail etiquette. The good thing was that the music pumped me up!
The bad part was that maybe the music pumped me up a little bit too much because by the time I popped out onto the exposed, wide gravel rail-trail my body was about ready to throw in the towel (and I had 3 miles to go). Defeated, sweaty, and almost out of water, I put my head down and suffered for the final 3 miles of climbing and came out on the other side: alive, pooped, but satisfied. On the bright side, I didn't have to poop mid-run, the scenery in Appalachia was jaw-dropping and far exceeded my expectations, and afterwards we visited an excellent coffee shop called Tip Top and I drank a 9/10 americano there.
After a 3.5 hour drive out of the mountains and into the semi-rural plains of Palmyra, VA, I was absolutely pooped. I made myself a veggie sandwich for a late lunch, and then hibernated in the powerful A/C in my room for the night just reading my book and semi-napping for a few hours. Hopefully with this rest time I'll be more energized tomorrow. Thankfully I'm completing this blog post in time to get 7 hr 20 min of sleep. That's a record for me in the past week. Soon I'll be up to 8! Fingers crossed!
Facts/stats of the day:
Miles driven: 187
Miles run: 40.5
Elevation gained: 3390
Minutes spent in pool: 86
Proportion of those 65 or older who have Alzheimer's: 1 in 10
Help 'em out here: http://curealz.org/heroes/running-road-trip