The Girls’ Run-cation, Part 1

I’d been trying to put this together for years, and it finally happened. I went on a vacation (albeit short) where the primary purpose was to run and the secondary purpose was to eat. We did a good bit of running and a good bit of eating. We could have run more, and we certainly could have eaten more. But we did the perfect amount of both. It was awesome.

My friend Jen and I had been talking about this trip since the spring. We finally settled on Charlottesville, Va as our location. If you remember from this blog entry, my family of 3 (sans The Ninja) took our mini-vacation to Charlottesville. I enjoyed it so much that I suggested it to Jen as a destination for our trip. She lived there for a while and visits frequently, so she knows the area. She was game.

Friday arrived, and off we went.

We drove through PA, MD and WV in pouring rain. We were shocked; it wasn’t supposed to rain much according to those “meteorologists” at weather.com.  As we drove into VA, we realized we’d be soaked on our first run. Undeterred, we pulled off the highway for our first run.

All smiles (and dry) as we embark
All smiles (and dry) as we embark

Our plan was to run 7-8 miles on part of the Massanutten Trail. Jen ran the Massanutten 100 as her first 100 mile race and her husband has run it a number of times (maybe 8?), so it seemed like a good place to start. The trail made a wicked fast, rocky ascent up the mountain. It was slippery, but not too bad. We got to the top and the heavens opened up even further and poured even more rain on us. Somehow we missed the orange blazes for the Massanutten Trail and ended up on some sort of mystery trail. It was nice, so we kept going. We figured we’d go out for 4 miles or so and then turn around. Unfortunately, water got into my Garmin Forerunner and it died less than an hour into the run. At this point we had to run by time in order to get checked into our B&B during the correct hours. We did, however, take some time to stop at one of the vistas. It’s just too bad we didn’t see much!

On a clear day, I bet this view would be amazing
On a clear day, I bet this view would be amazing

Drenched, we returned to the car and changed into dry clothes. Of course the rain stopped as we did this. It totally figured. We downed some of my yummy spicy quinoa salad and got back on the road.

We checked into our B&B, the Cope-Foster House. We managed to get the king suite only 3 days before checking in. It was really nice, but honestly a little overpriced for what we got. When I go to a “bed and breakfast”, I hope for a pretty decent bed and an awesome breakfast. She didn’t offer much in the way of breakfast. Her continental breakfast was a box of cereal and a bowl of fruit on the first morning. She added a delicious homemade coffee cake the second morning. We were up earlier than her normal breakfast service and she accommodated us, which was nice. I don’t think there were have been any more food if we would have eaten during the normal hours. I only think this way because I saw how little was in her fridge. But oh well. The place was adorable and fit our needs.

A view from the raised sitting area
A view from the raised sitting area

We got cleaned up and went out on the town for some dinner. We hit up Revolutionary Soup, since I missed it last time. We both ordered the Spicy Senegalese Peanut Tofu soup and half of a grilled tofu wrap. I also ordered a Devil’s Backbone Eight Point IPA and she got a Rogue Mocha Porter. Everything was absolutely delicious. The soup was totally amazing. You can be sure I will be trying to recreate that one in the near future. I wish I had taken a photo of the meal, but honestly, it didn’t look as good as it tasted.

We walked around the downtown mall for a bit and then turned in. We had a big day ahead of us, and needed our sleep.

On Saturday morning, we grabbed some coffee and fruit from our hostess before walking a few blocks to the City Market. On the way, Jen grabbed a breakfast sandwich from Cafe Cubano. I grabbed another cup of amazing coffee from the Mudhouse Coffee stand. (I want to know their secret to such great coffee!!) I followed that with some grilled polenta sticks and sauteed onions with peaches, all done up with a little apple butter. It was super tasty, though a little heavy on the onions, and a little lacking in the apple butter department. It was a small portion, which was good. We purchased a few other small things for the weekend and then packed up to hit the trail.

The start of Day 2
The start of Day 2

We headed down to Sugar Hollow, which was packed. There was a high school cross country team there, so it was crawling with a gaggle of teenaged girls. They were in the swimming hole, though, so we didn’t have to contend with them for long. We encountered them less than a mile into our run. We weren’t sure where the trail was going, since the blazes weren’t very visible from where we were standing. We had already crossed the creek once, so we weren’t sure if we had to do so again. We started to, but then thought we were wrong. Instead, we climbed up some rocks along the creek. It turned out to be where the girls were going to jump in the water. After realizing our mistake, Jen tried to head back down on a less than reliable route. She slipped and I heard her yelp. Her hand-held bottle went flying into the creek. Oops! Then we noticed that the water was turning a different color. The cap had broken off and all of her Perpetuem was gone.

Uh-oh
Uh-oh

Unfortunately she relies exclusively on Perpetuem to get her through longer distances. This was an issue. We stood there for a while, looking at the broken bottle, trying to figure out what to do. If I would have had a paper clip and duct tape, I probably could have rigged up something, a la MacGyver. Alas, the only seemingly useful item I had was a band-aid. Finally she figured out a way to mix the powder with just a little water to make a sludge, within a ziploc baggie. That baggie then went in the bottle without the lid. It worked, for the most part.

The rest of the run was great. It was gorgeous and tough – much tougher than it looked. Our legs were getting beat up, and we loved it. We did 7 miles on Moorman’s Trail, 7-ish miles on the Appalachian Trail, and then 6 more miles on some other trails.

I’ll finish up part 1 of this blog with more photos from our 20 miler.

Trail marker
I love these trail markers
Backcountry makes me feel badass
Backcountry makes me feel badass
My first steps on the VA section of the AT
My first steps on the VA section of the AT
I seriously love these AT markers!
I seriously love these AT markers!
Weird tree fungus?
Weird tree fungus?
I know nothing about this tree, but I assume it's a boy.
I know nothing about this tree, but I assume it’s a boy.
My first time drinking creek water. Given my upbringing, how is this possible?
My first time drinking creek water. Given my upbringing, how is this possible?
Contemplating life
Contemplating life
We got ourselves cleaned up in the creek a bit later on.
We got ourselves cleaned up in the creek a bit later on.
So many butterflies on the trails!
So many butterflies on the trails!

I’ll bring you part 2 in a day or two. Stay tuned!

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One thought on “The Girls’ Run-cation, Part 1

  1. I am so glad you ladies had fun! ( Jen asked me for clarification on your intended route to Wildcat and Rip Rap, and asked me if the water was potable– hopefully it was!). Sounds like a very fun weekend!

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