Matt left a message saying, "Strange run today". Indeed, it was a bizarre morning.
We were meeting at the West Hartford Reservoir, and Matt's friend, Mark, was coming along to join us. When I arrived at the reservoir, it was closed. Ughh!! Something about "dangerous conditions"...."Yeah, maybe for little kids or parents with strollers, but not for hardcore trail runners like us", I thought. Famous last words :-)
Plan B - We head to the other side of the reservoir and enter the adjacent reservoir (No. 6?) near the top of Avon Mountain. When we arrive there, Matt shows me a $20 bill that he had intended to carry for the run today (in case we passed a BBQ stand or something :-). Seriously, he shows me the $20 that has "Steve+Dawn= I love you" written on one side. Cool! Dawn, as you might have read, is my girlfriends name. How bizarre is that one? We exchanged $20's, so I could show it to Dawn.
This was the beginning of a very strange run. So, we head off toward Heublein Tower as I was anxious to get some climbing in. The gravel road around the reservoir was a sheet of ice. No kidding! I've rarely run in conditions this bad. I thought, "No problem", we'll hit the trail soon. Amy, Matt's wife, opted to run the paved road which was a brilliant decision. We'd later find the conditions there to be much better.
When we hit the trail, it was like fording a river. OK, I exaggerate a bit, but it was NASTY! Slippery and wet and occasional pot-holing. I muttered something about, "Who's idea was this?" Mark probably thought we were nuts! Near the top, the trees were covered with ice. It was surreal. We decided to take the road to the tower. It was icy as well, but probably less treacherous...or not. Anyway, after summiting we decided to head down to the reservoir and run the roads for the duration.
On the way, Matt took a minor spill on the ice. Amazingly, it was the only spill of the day. After hitting the road, we found Amy in short order. She looked like she was enjoying her run more than we had enjoyed the ice, water run.
We did a couple of loops on the road that were probably about 3.5 miles or so. Matt and Mark got to catch up on the past several years. They had run together in High School, but apparently hadn't kept in touch. They talked about marriages, kids, and old classmates. It was cool.
At one point, Matt looked at his legs and they were looking raw and bloody. We guessed it was from the descent off the mountain. Conditions were harsh.
Matt, Amy, and Mark decided to call it a day after a bit over 2 hours, but I really wanted to do at least 2:30. I headed out for another loop on my own. We had passed a woman that I knew on the loops a few times, but I couldn't quite remember how I knew her. I passed her again and she asked if I remembered her. Luckily, it came back to me and we ran together and chatted for about 10 minutes. She was training for Boston. I wished her well and headed back out to finish that last loop.
The last lap was slower, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I was a bit sore, but I attributed it to the roads. My total time was about 2:43...mileage was probably around 17.5 miles (just a guess).
Matt was right. It was a strange run.