46! The years just go by more and more quickly. Amazing.
This year my birthday run was WET! I couldn't believe it when I woke to 38F yesterday morning with rain and a high of 42 forecast for the day. Crazy.
Topaz and I began at Lake Maria State Park for a snowshoe start to the day. There is only about 9 miles of hiking/snowshoe trail and I didn't want to repeat 5 times. I would be finishing my run on road. Wet road.
It was still dark so I couldn't see the trail conditions, but I sure felt them. Soft. Real soft. The rain hadn't yet begun, just a barely able to feel it drizzle, it might have only been wet fog. My snowshoes sunk only a bit in the beginning, I was able to run the 9 miles on top of the snow most of the time. The thick tree cover and heavy fog kept the trail in OK condition most of the time. Until the fog broke, the light came through and the rain POURED upon us. Running on snowshoe in the pouring rain, I think that is a new one.
I pulled my jacket back on and was surprised that the rain wasn't soaking me to the skin. I was warmer than I liked but I didn't want to get a cold soaking. After a few more hours my snowshoes were no longer necessary. I was sinking completely to the dirt trail. Amazing. I was so glad we went skiing the day before and not today!
Once the sun came up I noticed that Topaz was digging along the trail every once in a while. He would dig a deep narrow hole, looking for something and then when I would get back to him I'd see him eating something! This happened a few times. As he was again digging in the snow I interrupted him and dug in the hole with my finger, wondering what I was going to find and bit nervous about what was going to be at the bottom of the hole. Guess what it was? M&Ms! Someone had been out on the trail and was dropping M&Ms along the way! Topaz enjoyed them. Chocolate is not good for dogs but I had already had a major chocolate episode with our last dog and knew that Topaz had not consumed enough for me to have to worry.
I headed back to the car for a change of gloves, water, SCAPS and VESPA. I had a few gels in my pocket that I was using. I am finding that I really like this VESPA. I seem to recover more quickly since I've been using it. I find that I drink more water, using more salt when using VESPA. I wasn't using Hammer Heed yesterday so the SCAPS were a good idea.
After removing my snowshoes and changing gloves and jacket I was ready to head out again. I tried to get Topaz to drink but he refused. He ate lots of melty snow and rolled in the wet snow constantly to keep himself cool. I had 24 miles in so far and decided to run upon the state park roads for a while. It felt good to run with a longer stride and to have the snowshoes off. The road was gated in spots but I had read on the park website that the blocked off roads were only prohibited to motorized vehicles.
Topaz ran in the ditch most of the time, opting for the soft wet snow instead of the hard packed snow upon the road. Many times he chased after turkey, deer and squirrel and I wouldn't see him for a while. I stopped a few times, listening for him in the woods. He just doesn't run out of energy. I was running out of energy!
By the time 46 miles was done I was beat. I was thankful that I had run Tuscobia the week prior; it made for a great training run for my birthday run! Tomorrow's Polar Dash will be s l o w recovery run as today's 10 miler was.
A birthday celebration dinner at Pittsburgh Blue last night with my family topped off the birthday day. Fabulous!