Surviving Aplastic Anemia catapulted me into a life of constantly striving for adventure. After being told I was in remission, I started off with a big one -- hiking across the country with my mom in 2006. That epic journey took us nine months to complete and was titled, "Our Hike" for Bone Marrow Disease. This blog is record of those adventures that shaped my life... and beyond.
I haven’t written in my blog in a long time, and I’ve been
meaning to put up and entry to catch up. The problem with that is I have so
much I want to say that it overwhelms me. So maybe I’ll do a little recap of my
most recent adventures soon. They haven’t been anything ginormous or anything,
but a bunch of little “close-to-home” weekend excursions and things of that
sort. This entry is about a simple trail run I did over the weekend, and I
thought it was a good opportunity to try getting back in the habit of
Adam switched to some 3rd shift hours, so on Sunday he
needed to sleep during the day. We live in a teeny 2-room studio apartment, so
I decided to hit the woods for some trail running while he sleeps… it would be
difficult to keep quiet enough for him to sleep in such a small place. Hey, any
excuse is a good excuse for me to hit the woods!
I packed my small running pack with 2 liters of water, half
of a PB&J sandwich, a Ritz cracker bar and a small bag of mountain-style
trail mix. At first I was thinking about hiking, but decided I wanted to get
some miles in, so I decided to trail run instead… this mattered for footwear
choice. Hiking would mean Brooks Cascadia trail runners. Trail run would mean
Vibram Five Finger (VFF) shoes. So I wore the VFFs, my running capris, a
sleeveless shirt and a bandana because it was hot and I knew I was going to get
Off I went… drove an hour to the Parnell Tower parking lot
in the Northern Unit of Kettle Moraine.
Trail on the Parnell Loop
The Parnell loop is a nice, single-track hiking trail that
winds through the woods for 3.5 miles. There are lots of rocks, roots and hills
on this loop trail, and I was really excited to hop-jog along the trail on such
a nice day. There’s also one gigantic steep hill that I remembered from
backpacking there, and I wanted to run down it really bad. But because I wanted
to run down the hill, I decided it would be pretty tough to run UP the hill,
too. So what does Robin do? Runs the loops two times, once each way. That way I
got to run up and down that crazy hill. And it was great both ways.
I started running the route so that the hill would be at the
end, and I’d run UP first. Then I’d climb the Parnell tower, and run back the
other way, running DOWN that same hill. On my first time around the loop, I was on the trail for maybe 2
minutes and found a blackberry bush with about 10 beautiful, plump blackberries
ready to be eaten. So I had to stop and pick them. They were delicious! What a
great way to start! The sun was shining through the leaves onto the trail and
there was just a slight breeze. It was hot, but I was mostly in shade… this is
one of the reasons I LOVE to trail run!
I enjoyed hopping from side to side around rocks and leaping
over large roots, quick-lunging up hills and loping down others. I was sweating
like a crazy-person, too. Ahhh, yes.
Then I rounded a corner and there was something moving in the trail ahead of me. I realized
that it was 2 little baby raccoons. I had to stop and get pictures – they were
SO cute!! The pictures weren’t turning out too great, so I took a little video,
then I was able to snap one good photo of the two babies sitting on a log. I
know coons are kind of nasty animals, but these little guys were so adorable I
wished I could’ve taken them home with me! But I’m sure Peanut (my cat) would
NOT have been happy about that. Adam probably wouldn’t have been a fan, either.
Cute baby raccoons!
Then I wiped out! My right foot JUST grazed the top of a
root and my left foot was still too far behind to come up and catch me, so I
went down. I was able to roll my body so that I didn’t face-plant, though. I
thought I was pretty smart for thinking so quickly! I landed on my shoulder in
the middle of the dusty trail. I wasn’t hurt AT ALL. I felt great, in fact! I
laughed, stood up and looked back where I fell. For how many rocks and roots
stick up on this path, I was feeling pretty lucky that I hadn’t landed on one.
I fell on a totally flat spot in the trail. I was just dirty from being super
sweaty and landing and rolling onto a dry, dusty trail. I squirt a little of my
water onto my hands, rubbed them together and trucked on, smiling the whole
After I got back to the start, I ran up the Parnell Tower
and ate my PB&J, drank some water, then head back the other way and DOWN that huge
hill. It really was fun both ways. The second loop went better for me
speed-wise, though I wasn’t really keeping close track. I didn’t even set the
chrono on my watch. I also didn’t stop for baby raccoons or blackberries the 2nd
time through – although admittedly I was keeping my eyes peeled for more
berries… I did have a deer spook me, then leap off into the woods and snort at
me a few times. That was pretty cool. Once through the second loop I climbed
the tower again, enjoyed the high-up breeze, snapped a couple of photos and head
back down to the car. I filled my water, ate my trail mix and head over to the
Greenbush Picnic Area. I wanted more!
I picked the largest loop at Greenbush (why wouldn’t I?). It was
5.1 miles. So that would give me a total of 12.1. I figured that was probably more
than I should do since I haven’t been running big miles and haven’t trail run
in a while… and my legs were already sore from muscle conditioning the day
before… but whatever, I did it anyway. One of these days this will catch up to
Anyway, off I went. The trails I was on this time are
cross-country ski trails in the winter, so they are nice and wide, and the
hills aren’t quite as short and steep, but I still had a few good hills to work
with. It was labeled as “Most Difficult” as far as ski signs go. During the
Parnell loops I concentrated mostly on my running, but on the Greenbush loop I
found myself working through some issues I had going on in my head. I was so
glad I took this trail, even though it hurt my legs pretty bad. Working through
life as you run sure helps the time fly! Before I knew it I had to wrap up all
my hypothetical conversations in my head because I only had another half mile!
It was therapeutic, for sure. I felt balanced and happy after all 12.1 miles.
I sat on a picnic table, snapped a few photos, picked the
weeds from between my toes and cooled off in the breeze. I then jumped in the
car, ate my last snack, drank a bunch of water, and decided to head home. Great
day, great run.