We had to change some plans around last minute, so instead of meeting up with friends, I decided to explore more trails at Colonel Denning State Park. I’ve hiked most all the sections of this park before, but haven’t combined them all together for a run until today.
I started off at the Cider Path parking lot and took Cider Path, which is a good 0.8 miles of very steep, rocky climb so I wasn’t even running until a mile in . My legs need this for Cayuga though! I then followed Warner to Wildcat. This route had me lifting up a deer enclosure gate to continue on the trail which is always fun. Once out of the deer enclosure, you are running down a pretty slope toward the creek. There were a few water crossings but plenty of large rocks to use to stay dry as you made your way across. Once I hit the intersection with Tuscarora, I followed that east for a few miles farther than I have before. Cider Path is a good 0.8 miles of very steep, rocky climb so I wasn’t even running until a mile in. The Tuscarora trail heading out of Colonel Denning was a fairly wide non-technical trail for a good mile and a half. Came to a good rocky mountainside and ran until I hit 4 miles, then headed back to the intersection with Wildcat and continued on the Tuscarora up to Flat Rock.
Things were going great. I was running easy and stopping to send pics to my Dad through Facebook Messenger every now and then, since my iPhone storage was full. (Turns out only one went through). I was a few yards from Flat Rock, running through a rocky section not unlike all of my other trail runs (they don’t call it Rocksylvania for nothing), when my left foot got stuck under a weird shaped rock. It was one of those rocks that juts out parallel to the ground like a shelf, with empty space under it. I went down hard, both knees hitting the rocks in front of me. I don’t even know how I didn’t hurt any other part of my body but I did have time to brace myself with my hands. The pain in my knees made me cry out and I thought for sure I was going to puke. The shock of going from my running breathing to being on the ground and crying out in pain made my breaths come even faster. I may have called that rock a mother fucker more than I care to admit. I knew I was close enough to Flat Rock that if anyone was there enjoying the overlook they would have come to see what the hell was going on. LOL Thankfully, I was alone in my misery!
I calmed myself down, rolled over to a sitting position, and drank some of my Nuun to help me feel better. It turns out I tore a small hole in my favorite tights but it was too cold to figure out what kind of damage was done to my knees, so I decided to walk for a little while and see what kind of pain I was in. I could either take the Flat Rock trail straight down to the first parking lot, then follow the boring road to my car, or continue on with the loop I had planned. I decided to stick to the plan, but I did more walking than running along the way. I headed down to the wagon wheel and picked up Warner Trail back to Cider Path. I had 5 miles to get back to my car and the last mile (down steep Cider Path) really made my knees scream!
My bruised knees and I have spent the remainder of the day getting acquainted with two bags of frozen produce!
Today was a good test of pushing on when something unexpected and/or painful happens. I know I will deal with many more things like this during long runs and races. Trail running and ultrarunning are metaphors for life after all. You get knocked down, cry a little and/or curse like a sailor, then get your ass up and keep moving forward.
I hope you like the only pic of my journey today!