Thursday, August 19, 2010

15 in 15 - Day 2 (Aug 18) - Front Royal to Mt. Carmel

I woke up and thought, "What's that sound, someone taking a shower? It couldn't be...rain!" But it was. It was okay because I knew that in 15 days it had to rain sometime. Might as well get it out of the way early, especially since this was trail day. Steve had gone home the night before to take care of the dog, and pick up some things we forgot and didn't get back until close to 7:30. By the time we got to the Gazebo and organized the gear, it was close to 8 oclock. But I was off and running in the rain. It took me about 1/2 mile before I realized I hadn't turned my Garmin on! Oops. The first four miles were on the road going out of town and up to the trailhead. Up, and up, and up I went. My pace was pretty slow right from the start and my trail shoes were rubbing one toe the wrong way. When I caught up to my crew before I entered the trail, I changed shoes and got my pack ready.

The first part of the trail was fairly runnable, but not even a mile on the trail and I ran into a big tree down blocking the way. Crawling under, in and around fallen trees is all part of the adventure. Now I started climbing, and climbing. The rain was steady, but manageable. In fact it kept me cool, but it also slowed me down because I was being cautious on the wet rocks and roots. I really didn't want to fall down. Finally, after about 2 miles I reach the top of the ridge, and after a few technical (rocky) areas begin a nice descent. I made a pit stop at the Jim and Molly Denton shelter and after a long two hours came out on Rt. 638 where I met my crew. At this point I had gone between 9 and 10 miles and was already an hour behind schedule.

The next section of trail was a lot easier. I climbed up the ridge through the woods and emerged in a beautiful mountain meadow enshrouded in clouds. There, under a lonely apple tree, was a bench. At first, I thought wouldn't it be nice just to sit down and relax for a while. But the stronger impression was that it was pew in God's cathedral. I ran across the meadow and back into the woods to begin the descent. About 1/2 way down was a historical sign - apparently, John Mosby and his raiders roamed these trails during the Civil War. I reached Rt. 55, got re-fueled by my crew and headed up the next ridge.

I had a real blessing in the person of Colleen Snyder who came to run with me for a few miles. She arrived when I needed it most, as the next section was another long climb. It's amazing when you have someone to talk to how quickly the miles go by. That really lifted my spirits and got me over the ridge. I had to take a 1/4 mile trail up to the parking lot where my crew was stationed. By now it was 2 o'clock and I still had 10+ miles to go! On the trails I was only averaging about 3 mph.Reba, with her sense of humor, asked me if I wanted to be sprayed down! I think I'm wet enough.

As I left them, I descended down into the woods into a dark cloud. It was like entering a fairy land. I finally was able to get a good trail running thing happening and began to make up time. I was doing so well, that I beat the crew station to their next stop and had already run by. At this point I just wanted to be done, so I kept moving. I noticed that the run was going to be a little short so I took a side trail that went to a beautiful overlook, and added a couple of miles to the run. Good thing I did, else I would have beat them to the next stop.

At this point I was off the mountain and had one mile to go. I gave them my pack and took off down Route 50. I was running down the mountain on the shoulder of the highway and felt free to run, unburdened by the weight of the pack. Finally I make the last turn to my ending destination, Mt. Carmel church and my daughter and I walk the last 100 yards together. What a long day! Almost 9 hours in the rain. I was tired, but only had an hour to get showered and ready to speak at Providence Chapel, our home church. It was a wonderful evening and I feel so blessed to have them supporting me every step of the way.

Day 2 done.


  1. Way to get through a tough day SuSu. Sounds like a gorgeous run though.

  2. Great job running the trails in all that rain. :)

  3. Wow! Fantastic job today! Um, running from DC to Rte. 1 will be the COMPLETE OPPOSITE but hopefully that's good, too!

  4. Awesome job SuSu! I love trails and I can just visualize your path. Even better that you did it in the rain. Impressive!!!

    (runningathena from WW)

  5. Hi Susu, we met at the Dodds' house on your way through, I just read your story and it is pretty incredible. Sorry I didn't get to chat with you more. You are truly inspiring. Best wishes to you and your family (especially your puppy). Gisella Dodds

  6. Hey Susu! As I read your posts and write this, it is Saturday, August 21. Just want you to know how proud I am of you and all that you are doing! You are such an inspiration! Keep on gettin it GIRL! You are doing great! Can't wait to see you soon along the journey! Love you! :)