Jill insisted we take to the trails of Patapsco Park near Ellicott City at 0600 and I was not one to argue when her mind is made. So off we went, first along delightful pavement of which I am familiar, then over to a rocky trail surface filled with stones 3 inch in size, millions of them and all ready to tug and turn ankles. My feet hurt, possibly because I wasn’t wearing trail running shoes and I watched our trail leader (Jill) sprint off ahead, wearing the proper shoes. Eventually, I caught up, and we made it inside of the park, the campground where everyone was still sleeping in their tents and I wondered what it might be like to sleep in — for once.
Jill had hand-picked a trail that would descend to the river, and I nodded sure I was game, scratching my legs riddled with bug bites and swatting away mosquitoes swirling around my face wondering when this might all be over. “Come on’ Sissy” the perky one says as she moves on ahead, and after a quick start, our progress stopped. I clearly heard “this is horseshit” and I stopped too, watching the one in the lead wipe spider webs off of her face, and I deliberately stayed back several feet, confidently getting the hang of letting the person in front take the spider webs full on. I lingered back for the next 20 minutes — through a steep descent through forest conditions until an opening was reached — synchronizing my steps with the stops, the ‘horseshit’ commentary, and the followup ‘do you want to lead, Sissy?’ where I always responded ‘no, I’m good’.
After 8 miles of deep forest trail running carrying a large collection of spider webs, we ended with dozens of new bug bites, drenched in sweat and confident that being the lead along the trail is best left to your running partner.
Peace & Love