Yep, got the privilege of celebrating another year past while looking forward to the year to come! It was a fabulous day and I certainly couldn't have asked for more. I had my family (including my little grandson Joshua peeking above the counter there in the picture!) - my son Robert and DIL Auxi were there in spirit but she was recovering from her first half marathon so they didn't drive down - I had good food, perfect weather, and most of all, my health! I am so excited for what this coming year will bring while being so thankful for getting back to a place where I actually feel healthy after spending so much of last year dealing with that knee infection.
It was a good day!
We (me, my mom, & my sister) all park at the base of the lake (since it is man-made, it has a fairly steep climb up to the Marina which totals about 1.75 miles) and then walk up the hill that we have named "The Beast" as our warm-up. There's no doubt that by the time you get to the lake that you are warmed up and ready to go! After you check in at the Marina, you have the option of heading West or East and there is a dirt trail that goes around the entire lake that totals out at 21 miles.
We have been doing the lake trail for a couple weeks now and some of my favorite things about it are:
- An abundance of CLEAN port-o-johns...like seriously CLEAN!
- Dirt trails offer a softer cushion
- The dirt trails are still somewhat rocky so it offers a little technical work and requires you to stay focused
- Because the dirt trails are still somewhat rocky, it really forces you to use a variety of muscles so you're getting a great workout
- It is scenic!
- There are a variety of hills that are fairly manageable ranging from rolling to short climbs
So there's a lot to like and I have absolutely come to love running long up there! Okay, so the first several times we did the trail we headed west and it was fabulous; as I mentioned, lots of porta potties...for the first 3 miles at least. I did find out that they get a little more sparse as you get further away from the main shoreline fishing locations. Since we had already done the west route a few times, I figured that it would be grand to run east for a change!! Makes sense right? So the east route takes you across the East Dam and I thought that would be pretty cool...HA!!
Exhibit A for Why it was a Dam Run:
It turns out that when you run across a dam, there's no DAM BATHROOMS! I don't know why this hadn't clicked for me prior to doing this particular jaunt, but it hadn't. I mean, look at the second picture up there, you see that long dam? You see any bright blue porta pots? No??? Me neither...
About halfway across I really started having the urge to tinkle and yet there wasn't anything as far as the eye could see. And you're on a dam...so it's dam steep terrain. It's a man-made dam, so no dam bushes. If you got the runners trots while out there, you would LITERALLY be sh*t outta luck! Literally... If I had been truly desperate there was two options as I saw it: 1) pee my pants and run on; or 2) pop a squat in the middle of the dam and give the dam fishermen a real show! Neither is a very pretty option, eh?
Exhibit B for Why it was a Dam Run:
It turns out that when you run across a dam, you enter some freaky parallel universe where your worst nightmares come true - you really DO run uphill BOTH WAYS!! I know that it isn't actually possible in the space-time continuum that we know, but out on the dam, all bets are off!
As Wikipedia states in their information: The 2.1-mile (3.4 km) long East Dam, constructed by a Kiewit-led joint venture, is the longest of the three dams. It measures 1,200 feet (370 m) wide at the base and 40 feet (12 m) wide at the top.
So I head out across the dam and keep thinking "okay, there's a slight uphill grade here, but as I look off into the distance I can see that it is going to go downhill eventually". So I keep running towards the downhill and it never comes! So I start thinking to myself "well, alright, at least it will be ALL DOWNHILL on the return trip and that will be pretty freaking awesome!"
I finally made it across, found a bush and became one with nature and did my part by watering some shrubs, then continued on to the turnaround point. Then headed back, watered some more plants before heading back to the realm of no dam bathrooms, and got ready for the downhill, baby!!!
But to my surprise it was UPHILL...AGAIN!! How is that even possible?!? I swear to you that this was not a figment of my imagination...that damn dam was freaking uphill in both directions. The ONLY explanation was...dunh, dunh, duhhhhh: The Twilight Zone.
And lest you think I'm totally crazy, I confirmed this fact with both my Mom AND my sister!! If three people agree, surely that makes it fact, right???
So it was a dam run, but I still had...fun? Can you say that a long run is fun without sounding like a total nut job? Oh whatever...I should probably just own that fact.
After all, I do have this magnet on my car:
Needless to say, I'm going to be sticking with the west route for the time being. :-)