It started out as a simple 14 mile base run. I was joining my friend Adam and his RwP running buddy Dave at the Rockefeller state park preserve( lovingly called the Rockies by locals). The day was dreary, wet and cold. We all met up at the Sleepy Hollow High parking lot at 8AM as usual.
I should have known this was going to be a tough day once I saw Adam and Dave putting on these spiked devices on their shoes( "grip it") for a better grip on the Ice ( dave was supper fly with running shoes with Built in spikes). I of course had not even seen these things before ( how did I miss the memo?). So I saw that these more experiensed runners were expecting some icy conditions. This was going to be interesting. Not having been at the Rockies since the fall I had no idea what the conditions would be.
We started off down the Old croton Aqueduct as usual. The trail was covered with about 2 inches of packed snow, turned to ice in some spots. Fortunately, in the early morning it was still firm enough that we basically, were able to run over this stuff. It was still kind of hard but the snow did give a little so there was not a solid footing, which made this a little more of a workout. Throughout the run I could not keep my HR below 155 even walking.
Anyhow, I had assumed we would take a trail that went by the visitor center mid way as we usually do, but Adam informed me that those trails are probably unusable for running, so instead I brought a water bottle and hid it strategically about 4 miles down the road since this is a path we would come back on. We would fetch it later.
As time went on, the day continued to warm up, and it started to rain. The result being that this hard packed snow started to soften up. Eventually, we found ourselves running on soft slushy snow that gave way every time we tried to push off. It was like running in sand. Although Adam pointed out that In sand you are trying to keep your feet from getting stuck wereas in snow we were struggling to keep our feet from slipping and sinking in thus a different effort. However the fine details were insignificant to me, it just sucked. But Adam IS a running coach. I am sure in a coaches mind this is critical.
By the half way point we were pretty tired but still game to finish, since we had a mission to finish our 14 mile planned workout. My HR was all over the place. The ice was even more slippery now that it was partially melted. Slugging through this stuff was just plain hard.
Save the Bhudha, Save the world
At this point, Adam informed us that we were going up "Bhudha hill" informally named due to a Bhudha statue that is hidden in a crevice along the wall. I had never seen it and did not believe Adam. So as we ran up this hill Adam was taking us up to point out the crevice that the Bhudha calls home. We could not find it. Adam knew it was supposed to be there, but for some reason it was not. So we looked around. Dave continued on up the hill. I stayed to help Adam to look for the Bhudha. I did not know what to look for since I had never seen it. I had thought that maybe it was some form of Rock formation or maybe some horse poop that happened to be shaped to remind you of the Bhudda. I acted like was really looking but really I was just placating Adam...When lo and behold there it was...we found the Bhudha. It was truly a Bhudha statue, about 2 inches in height, a tiny little thing. But not in its rightful place, it was supposed to be in a small crevice and had fallen out somehow and was laying in the snow just to the side of the path, just waiting for a horse or person to come by and crush it, thus possibly ruining peace and harmony for the world forever! ( or at least a day or two)
Realizing how close we came to disaster we immediately put it back in its rightful place. The moment was so powerful that I felt like doing a sign of the cross, but wasn't sure if that would somehow create spiritual havoc in the universe by mixing religious symbols. So I withheld the Cross sign.
Was it the Bhudha who made me question Adam? Forcing him to show me?!
Who knows! I just hope this action resulted in some good Karma for us having saved the Bhudha from sure disaster. As if its not bad enough whats happening in wars, disease and famine already ravaging our world, we certainly did not need this!
The sludge fest
After saving the worlds Karma we continued on our way. The conditions just continued to deteriorate ( or maybe it was us who were deteriorating), anyhow, by mile 9 we were just pushing through, Dave was doing great having developed a stride that was very reminiscent of "Rocky Balboa" from the Rocky movies. I myself had developed sort of a John Wayne-esque like limp/stride as it seemed that my stabilizer muscles in my right leg were starting to give way after 2 hours of pushing through the wet, slushy, crap (as we started to fondly all it). Adam seemed to be no worse for wear ( probably buoyed by the recent Bhudha rescue) though he did seem to slow down a bit.
By mile 11 we were back at the cars, tired weary, and just plain pooped. There was a real temptation to stop the run at this point since we had all already worked much more for these 11 miles than was planned due to the conditions. There was only one problem the water bottle was still out there and we still had another 3 miles to go on our plans.
We simply could not leave this water bottle out there to pollute the earth ( that and also there was a good chance it was my Singapore 70.3 souvenir bottle, yes it was a crappy race for me but WOW what a bottle!) . We just assured ourselves of some pretty darned good Karma, why ruin it now?
So we headed out for the damned water bottle and for the extra 3 miles. We went over the path taken earlier when it was nice a firm. Now it was a sludgy shit fest and we suffered through this like I never before. It was in fact so bad that we simply had to start laughing. Thats the benefit of running with friends, especially those with a real good attitude, it makes doing the hard stuff fun. We were just cracking jokes and laughing at how bad we looked running. I felt like Jerry Lewis in one of his comedies where he is running with his legs going all over the place.
When we finally got to the water bottle it turns out not to be the Singapore water bottle, ( who really pays attention to what water bottle you have? forget what I said before it wasn't THAT special;) . Anyhow we turned around and finally finished this decrepit run. When all was said and done we had gone 15.6 miles*. I was soaked, cold and incredibly sore. But comfy in the knowledge that I finished my planned distance. All in All, a good day.
* Note 15.6 miles is from my foot Pod, Adam and Dave had a GPS units. Adams Unit lost the signal all together near the end of the run so HIS calculations were not accurate, and Dave's said 15.25 BUT Dave did stop and walk for a bit since he had only a 13 mile run to do. Though he claims to not have stopped the device at any point, BUT how can we be sure that he did not lose the satellite at some point just like Adam. In my mind that disqualifies the distance. Making MY pod distance the most accurate of the inaccurate distances!!