Even though it was just a training run, I had been pretty nervous about it for a few days. It’s a tough run, and although I’d been running up O Hill here in Charlottesville as part of my training, I hadn’t done any climbing comparable to what we were about to tackle.
This shows two trips up O Hill:
When we started, I was wearing two layers on top, a hat, gloves and shorts. I took my hat off 3 minutes into the run. Just after mile one, I took off my long sleeve shirt and gloves. As I was stuffing them into my hydration pack, I realized that I’d forgotten my body glide. I was also having trouble with the bite valve on my hydration pack. I had to close it after every sip, or it would leak all over me. It’s really hard to get the stupid thing closed while I’m running, so this was a minor annoyance I had to deal with for the rest of the run.
I was kind of tired when we started climbing, and didn’t feel much like talking. I still wasn’t sure how the run was going to go. I tried not to think about the long climb ahead.
As we neared the Blue Ridge Parkway, I started to feel better. The sky was bright blue and we could actually feel the warmth from the sun.
The overlook turnout just before the Blue Ridge Parkway was snow-covered and we wondered if the road up Roanoke Mountain would be clear enough to run on.
The road was surprisingly clear of snow. It almost seemed as though it had been plowed.
Pretty much as soon as we started climbing up Roanoke Mountain, I knew I was going to be able to finish the run. I was feeling better than I had early on in the run.
We stopped at the Mill Mountain overlook and took a picture of the Mill Mountain Star, where we would be in another four or five miles.
When we reached the top, we stopped again for more pictures and some fuel. I’ve been using unsweetened and unsulfered dried fruit (apricots and mango for this run) instead of Gu lately.
I continued to feel good until we started the climb back up Mill Mountain. My legs were getting tired and my upper arm was starting to chafe. I made Kurt stop so I could put my long sleeve shirt back on. I was quite warm and didn’t want to, but I had no body glide and didn’t want to end up with a bloody arm.
It was tough going for a while, but I just put my head down and kept shuffling forward. There was a lot of traffic on the road up to the Mill Mountain star and all the cars started to annoy me.
Finally, we made it to the star.
As we headed down the mountain I realized that it was actually nice that so many people were outside enjoying the beautiful weekend day on the mountain. I forgave them for driving by me in their cars to get there.
Kurt and I were both pretty exhausted (and hungry!) when we got back to the car, but my Garmin said we’d run 15.35 miles. We ran around the park to make it an even 16 miles.
We cleaned up and headed to the best Chipotle on the planet.
We’ve only been to the Chipotle in Roanoke after running up Roanoke Mountain, so our food always tastes insanely good. It was so good today that I wondered if it actually is better than any other Chipotle. One day we’ll have to go when we haven’t just finished a long, hard run and solve that mystery.