The Worst “Trail” Run Ever
by Amy Mueller, MRTT/SRTT Louisville, KY member
So, my trail marathon plan calls for 8 miles today. I scope out a few runs in Weekiwachee, Florida. We decide on Weekiwachee Preserve and make our way there.
|Trail Map with "markers"|
Let’s just start by saying this trail is part overgrown gravel roads, sandy paths smothered with weeds that may be snake homes, and dead trees presumably from the Florida heat. But the water view is pretty. It is 90 degrees and so humid my clothing starts to get wet as soon as I step outside the car. Dad says: “If you see an alligator, turn around”. Uh okay dad. Sure thing. NOOO Problem.
I follow the “Markers” till about 3. Then I follow the next path. It is a path about the size of a car lane and is all sand with super overgrown weeds. Also, nobody else is on it. Also, its super sketchy and the further I go, the more overgrown it gets. I follow my gut, turn around and head back. Fast. The whole time I envision an alligator chasing after me.
|The trail that leads to nowhere|
I reconnect with the main path and then just run and try to follow the markers, and the map, to get my “8” miles in for the day. At about mile 3.5, I get menstrual cramps in my legs. You all, I don’t get menstrual cramps in my belly, I get them in my legs. And when that happens, my legs don’t want to move. Plus its ridiculously hot and humid. Plus the trail is boring besides the nice view of the water. So, I think, “You know what, I’m just going to head back to the car, I’m over this.”
At about 5 miles, I come across this nice man “Ron” who is fishing. I ask him how to get back to the car. He’s very helpful. I say “Dad is worried about alligators or snakes getting me." Ron says, "Oh yeah, there are snakes all over the place. But if you stay on the trail you’ll be fine. And Alligators, there here too but they prob won’t get in your way. The largest I’ve seen is 7 feet and they won’t mess with you but the 10 foot ones will drag you in the water." Then he says, "You got enough water?" I say, “Yep, I think I’m good. Seems like I’m pretty close to the car.” He says "Yeah, probably about 2.5 miles and you are there. Follow the water." I say, “I’ve been following the markers.” and I show him the map. He says, “Oh you can’t trust those, people move those all the time. Just follow the path up there to the right and stay near the water." Okay, so that explains why I got a little lost.
|At least the water view was pretty!|
Now I’m paranoid that every sound is a snake or a gator, and the mosquitoes are ginormous. I’m hot, a little dizzy, my legs hurt, I’m done. Just done. And I have like 2.5 miles left? I’ve never been this miserable on a run before. I’m listening to music but my mind is envisioning this story where I collapse and die a half mile from the entrance and my body is found 10 days later, completely decomposed, or not found at all and just eaten by something. Okay, could I go any more morbid?
Needless to say, a bit later as I walk/run and follow Ron’s directions, I make it to the end. Chug every bit of water in dad’s car and vow to never go there again. But I got 7.4 miles, memories and the pictures and a story to share. Peace out, Weekiwachee Preserve!