Into the shadows we went. A rag tag band of eight. Three men of brawn, and five women molded in the image of Athena did not hesitate before plunging into a tangle of green.
Stripped to the barest of essentials we began. Breathing was a kin to sucking pea soup through a straw. An immediate attack of annoying, flying insects swarmed around all of our heads, buzzing into our eyes, nose, and ears. One of us, a new runner to our group was met with a bee sting to the abdomen yet she did not waiver.
I had the lead, one of the perks of being a captain I guess more so because I had a route in mind. Whenever I lead a trail run I imagine myself as an old steam locomotive chugging along as the train follows behind. The route I chose had certain areas that are usually very muddy, not today. We are in the middle of a pretty strong heat wave so all of the usual muddy spots are drying up quickly. I also chose that route because I hoped that there would still be wider trails for us. Luckily for us that was mostly the case.
As we traveled down the trail the golf course appeared on our right and the biting flies appeared on my head. This little buggers are annoying. They have a yellow shine and are more streamlined that a common house fly. I hate them, they always bite my head, it doesn't leave a mark, or a welt but man does it sting when it happens.
On the back side of this trail we encountered a lone soul on a mountain bike, we slashed his tires, took his wallet and poured his water on to the ground. "Your kind isn't wanted round these parts!" we shouted. He begged for mercy as we left him trembling on his knees.
A few street crossing led us to the back of High Rock Park. This is a long uphill, one of my favorites actually getting to the top always feels like an accomplishment especially today. As a made it to the top one of the ladies was right behind me I desperately crawled for a bench as she looked around as if she was still waiting for the hill. When you get to the top of this hill your usually at the highest point of the run unless you head to Todt Hill but that trail was in the wrong direction, and filled with nasty ghouls and goblins or so i've been told.
We regrouped at the top guzzled water like a weird pack of camels and pressed on. Down a bit then up a little bump then a long, luxurious down hill back to the streets which we crossed in a pretty ugly fashion I must admit. At this point we were all feeling a bit ragged and a little loopy so we get a pass.
Once again we entered another portal into the shadows and green. The path we took back we relatively straight for a trail that is. We didn't diverge onto other trails as we met with the "Steps". The reality of the "Steps' is that it is not that big of a hill but we usually hit it at the end of a run so it feels a lot worse than it is. Once your at the top though every direction is downhill so knowing that helps me get to the top of the steps with some pep. Tonight had a little less pep due to the heat but whatever, you know what I mean.
You know when your at a party and everyone starts to leave but you still have a small group hanging around and it's a great time because you're all friends except that one guy who doesn't quite fit in Either he's to drunk, or just plain obnoxious yet he doesn't take the hint to go. That is what the heat/humidity was like tonight. It was always there, hanging around like that jerk at the party.
Any banana, we rounded the last mile of twisty, turny, downhill. The exact same path that we started on but of course we finished up in reverse which is generally beneficial since it's mainly downhill. Round and round we go until what appears but the exit. We shoot out of the trees and stumble towards the water fountain and feebly try to replenish the gallons of water that we sacrificed to the trails tonight.
The journey was only 5.? miles but with the heat, hills, and bugs it was a glorious fight every step of the way. I look at these dead of summer runs as the payment for the Fall and Spring runs which are Disney like in their beauty.