Afterwards, we refueled, had the orange I'd been carrying all day, and headed on back to Pine Lane. Oh yea, remember the 1.5 liters of water? I still had 1.5 liters of water. The drinking tube froze solid...it was in the low 20s for the whole run. The plus side is that I carried a good deal of weight all day and still ran strong beginning to end. Once back on the trail, I kept on leading the pack and eventually got to the water crossing about 1 mile from the Pine Lane Trailhead. To prove how loopy I get in the later miles, I said: "Well, we only have 2.7 miles to go so instead of leaping across the water, why don't we just walk on through?" That turned into standing in the water for some super-frigid "cold-water-therapy!" After running for over 4 1/2 hours, the freezing water actually felt good. After a few pics, we took off again, completely soaked of course!
After back at Pine Lane, we needed another 1.2 miles so we hit up the Valley Bridle Trail again (same as where we ran in the 5 o'clock hour) and crossed over the 26.2 marathon distance right at about 5 hours. Not too shabby given we stopped to eat from time to time, goofed around in the water, and we were running on hilly, muddy trails. After a high-five with Greg, we continued on and wrapped up the run back at Lock 29. Like good social trail runners, we gathered up for a final pic post-run and then headed on over to the Winking Lizard for some quality re-fueling. A phone call came in saying that my girls wanted to stay at Grandma's a little longer so no pressure to sprint home...perfect!
I know the question is coming or being thought so I'll just state it and answer it: "Why on earth did you run 28 miles?" Honestly? Just because I could. You might say I love to run...just a bit. More specifically, I love to run on the trails and mentally and physically escape from speeding cars, the roads I see on every morning run I do during the work-week, and to absorb everything that the trails can throw at me. Thankful is barely a good enough word to describe how I feel when out there. It's thankful times a hundred...a thousand. I don't take a step for granted or the National Park for granted...never. I really just wanted to run for a very long time today and it's really just as simple as that. Now having another 50K (31.2 miles) only 7 days away...well, that's another story and I'm sure, another blog post. Oh yea, I had to snap this final pic of my trail shoes after I took them off. Chocolate-covered pretzels is what comes to mind. Layer after layer of frozen mud...and that rushing water didn't pull it off, either. Kinda cool, eh?! Here's the whole 17pic photo album from today.
Most definitely, more so today than usual, Happy Trails, everyone!