Thursday, April 19, 2012

Spring Valley Adventures (aka LOST!)

This blog was started and still remains as a folder for my races. However, my run today was more exciting then some races so I feel like I need to document it.

You know how you can sing along to a song on the radio and know every word. But take away the artist singing and you fumble with some of the words. Yeah, well my run today was kinda like that!

Spring Valley Park is only about 900 acres of old agricultural fields and uneven aged forest but the trails are not well marked and it has many little roads (which are often not marked either) that run through it. Its easy to get lost driving thru the park let alone running there! But its only about 7miles from the house and offers lots of hills so Rik & I like to go there every so often. We always run the same 6mile loop even though there are alot of other unmarked trails. In fact we ran there just the day before and were pleasantly surprised that some trail work had been done and even some new trail markers were up!

To bad that it was a warm day yesterday and I had a bad run. My asthma was acting up and it just sucked. As usual I followed behind Rik and every turn he made I already knew that that was where we were to turn. I was so mad at myself for being so slow and having to hike so much. I was mad at myself for making him wait for me. I had vowed to return the next day for a more productive run and I wanted to run it by myself. That way he wouldnt have to wait for me & could go explore some of the other trails! I was confident of the trails I was going to run after all!

Fast forward to today...the weather is 15* cooler then yesterday and it is drizzling out. My perfect running weather! Im going to Spring Valley and I am going to have an awesome run all by myself! We leave the parking lot and head down the stone road together. As soon as we turn into trail 1 it is uphill so of course Rik is gone flying up that hill. No problem. I start heading up the hill and feeling pretty good...much better then yesterday. So I continue running and running knowing every which way to go. I am now on trail 2 and making good time. I really thinking this is going to be the fastest I've ever run this course! Next I head up trail 3 which is a long hike of a hill. I cant ever run any bit of this hill and today was no exception. However, I didnt have to stop to catch my breath today either, winning! It runs along a field and turn into the woods again and up another hill. I am chucking up this hill to. My head is down and I have my hat on because of the rain just looking down directly in front of me. I get to where I need to turn right and I do just that. Everything looks familiar and I keep going until I get to an intersection that I dont remember. It splits and I can either go left and up or right and down. I know that at this point I should be going down. I know that its a real nice down hill section here. But I also have an uneasy feeling because this just doesnt look right.

But I decide to take the down trail for a little to see. Yeah, I go down and then it starts taking me back up and by this point the trail looks quite unworn. I realize this is wrong and go back to the unfamiliar intersection. I stop at the intersection and try to decide what to do. I decide to go all the way back out  to the last main trail, its just straight ahead afterall. And as I start to run there doesnt really seem to be a trail. Where did it go. So I turn around again to go back to the "intersection" to start over again. Shit where is the intersection! Where is a god damn trail?! I start to panic. It is one thing to be lost on the trails. Its another thing to be lost with NO TRAILS! I stopped and looked all around. Nothing but trees. I am in the middle of nowhere. I want to cry but am to panicked to even do that.

I debate heading in the direction of the big trail but then I started to question my judgement on to which direction the big trail was. So I actually decided to go the opposite direction because that is atleast the direction I think I am supposed to be headed...just on a trail. And I decide that I need to start bushwacking my way down to the bottom of the hill/mountain to hopefully find a road or creek. All of a sudden I think I see a road down at the bottom and make a b-line straight down for it. Within a second I realize that it is actually the roof of a house. Good enough for me! I continue bushwacking my way down. All of a sudden I notice someone staring at me. "HI!" I yelled. I think she yelled hi back. I got a couple of steps closer down the hill and said Hi again and told her that I was lost and that I had been running in SV Park. She said she thought I was a deer. Haha, I would like to think I was galloping down that hill like a deer!

She started to give me directions on how I could get back to the park (because obviously I was no longer even in the park!) when a man pops his head out the door to find out what is going on. He asks if Im parked by the pond. I have no idea where the pond is in the park and tell him that Im parked on Line Rd. He says, "oh, Line Rd goes a couple of different directions" GREAT....just great. Just get me to Line Rd and I'll figure it out from there. So he tells me that I need to follow the stone road out to the paved road. Then follow the paved road to the guard rail blocking a road that says "road closed". He tells me to cross the guard rail and follow that to the creek which I will have to cross at some point. And then I think he said that was Line Rd but Im not sure because with the whole "follow the closed road and cross the creek" part were enough for me. Yikes! He did offer me a ride twice but declined because so long as I could get to a road in the park Rik would find me (I had my cell phone and Riks was in the Jeep). My legs are stinging from all the thorns I ran through and with the rain hitting it...ouchy! This is a picture of my leg after the run. They both look like this.

So I head down the road and was actually quite happy to see the closed road and jumped the guard rail without thinking twice about it. I was headed the right way after all! Then came the creek. I was blessed to find that it was only ankle deep and crossed it quickly and up onto a stone road. I stopped for a minute to decide which way to head on this road. And decided to go right. I took off running while I text Rik "LOST". I figured that would get me a phone call as soon as he saw it. I quickly came upon two guys fishing and their truck was parked on the road. I asked if I was on Line Rd. And the one guy says, "I'm not sure. I think it Line Rd". Thats what I mean about this park, there are so many little roads that you dont really know which one you are on sometimes. So I asked if he knew if I was headed in the direction of rt. 216. He said, "oh yeah".
I smiled and said, "AWESOME"! We all laughed and I kept on running. Now feeling better that I was back in the park and headed in the right direction!

Not much past the fishin dudes I see trail 4 on my left and where I was supposed to come out of trail 3 on my right. Now if I would have just kept on Line Rd it would have taken me back to the Jeep eventually. But I dont really know that road. I do, however, know trail 4! And without even thinking twice I turned onto trail 4!
I handle trail 4 fine and cross over onto trail 5. Rik finally text me back so I called him to let him know that I knew where I was now. Its funny how I knew trail 5 to but kept second guessing myself at intersections and even stopped twice to look all around to make sure I was going the right way.

Trail 5 is by far the nicest trail in the park and it was my reward for the run!
Now thats a trail! I actually passed the Jeep on the opposite side of the creek and yelled at Rik who was standing there patiently waiting for me. Ran down to the bridge and back up the stone road to the Jeep. Whew-what a run! Rik and I talked a bit when I got back to try to figure out where I went wrong. Then we even drove down and hiked back up the hill. And it ends up that I went the whole way up the trail on 3 instead of turning onto a trail about 3/4 of the way up. I think because I had my head down and hat on as I was chucking up the hill I never even saw the very nice and obvious trail that I should have turned onto.

I was so scared at the time but now we are laughing at me getting so panicked and the thought of me running back and forth and in circles trying to find the trail. And I think it was kind of a good thing in that I am proud of myself for getting out of the situation and finding my way back! Rik also did find some new good trails today but he says he wishes he would have ran with me...sounded like way more fun!

1 comment:

  1. Having moved to a different part of Northern Virginia, i am running new places. I got lost last week in a park in Reston. But my story is nothing like yours. As for downloading the map from your Garmin. Upload to the computer and right click on the picture of the map and save it as a picture. At least that is what i think i did last time.