Friday, April 19, 2019

Buckets of Rain

Another Sunday and once again I am sitting in my truck at Smoker's Cove getting ready to run. It is pouring rain and the radar shows a solid line of storms pounding the region. Running in heavy rain and storms doesn't sound fun and I'd rather still be in bed but Sunday's are my run days and I don't have the option of getting in a long run any other day. If I am going to run far this week it will be in the rain. As I sort out my gear I stoke myself up. It will be fun. Nobody else will be out there. It sure beats the heat or cold. I tell myself these things and almost believe them. 

Given the weather, I have picked a favorite route I call The Big Nasty. It starts with all of the Black Mtn. trail and then stays on the ridgeline across Buckwheat Knob and Bennett Gap trails before descending down to Avery Creek Rd. and then up Pressley Cove and back to Black Mtn and the finish. Fifteen and a half miles that feels like much more. I think about changing my route and doing something easier but those thoughts are fleeting as I tell myself  You got this.

The rain stops as I start up Black and things are quite pleasant. Maybe the rain is over, I think, but I know it isn't. As I pass through the first gap it starts back up again - a torrential downpour with a howling wind. This is what you came for, I remind myself and vow to have fun. As I near Turkey Pen I am singing in the rain at the top of my lungs and splashing through the puddles like a kid. The storm stops again as I cross the top of the trail's namesake mountain and I proclaim loudly "Look, the storm is gone!" but there is nobody to hear me. If this was a sunny Sunday a never-ending procession of mountain bikers would be marching across these trails but for today this part of Pisgah is all mine and mine alone. By the next gap, it is dumping again and I run right through, committed to the course. 

After that, it is more of the same: running and singing in the rain. Moving forward. The mental game is in full effect. You can always bail out at the road and run back on the highway. Skip the final stretch on Black. No need to push it. But when I get down to Avery Creek Rd. I don't listen to that voice in my head and head up Pressley Cove instead. It is storming really hard and I am having a blast. This is what I came for. This is what it is all about. 






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