Oak Mountain is a well loved state park just outside of Birmingham. It’s got everything from golf, to a campground, to seemingly endless miles of biking, hiking, and equestrian trails. The park itself if gorgeous. Lakes and ponds for fishing, kayak rentals, even a beach, all nestled in a mountain, and for $3, you get access to it (rentals are more, but still, impressive).
Last weekend I intended to to the Peavine Falls run . I got lost, but had an amazingly fun run. I found a wonderful trail tucked in along a creek (the Red Trail), and even though it down poured, it was a great run. I got really tired in the last mile, so I didn’t go my full 7.5 miles that I had planned.
This week, I needed to do 9 miles, and decided the Rave Run was it. I had a rough week, so even though I knew it would be really hot, I waited until the afternoon to give my body some extra rest time. I even got myself a Camelback to eliminate my hand bottle issues, so I was ready to go.
So I knew this was a mountain, and I ran on the terribly gravel paved road for a few miles last weekend, but forgot how bad it was. A few miles is one thing, but the hills were rough. I walked a good portion of the first 4 miles, running when it was a lower grade or slight downhill, and forcing myself to walk fast the rest of it, I reached a lookout point and stopped to snap some pics because it was gorgeous.
I felt pretty good, which isn’t a surprise, I was walking a lot of it, but at this point, I had gone about 1000 ft up over the course of about 4 miles.
A bit further up the road (yes, road, not trail. Terribly paved road) I finally hit the trail into the falls. I was in heaven. It was dirt with a lovely covering of trees. My legs were finally being treated well. And then I hit the “extremely difficult and dangerous” area. No possibly way to run, my Garmin lost its signal, but the scenery was wonderful. I followed a cute family down the rocks toward the falls.
Then I had to climb my way out. I didn’t think through this very well. It was hot, I was literally climbing rocks out of the gorge, and when I reached the top, I was beat. But I still had more than 3 miles to go.
So I took off. I ran as much down the 1200 feet descent as I could, found a trail near the bottom that would add some milage to hit my 9 and kept going. At this point I was starting to feel off. I couldn’t run, I could drink, I walked and when I got my head back, ran again. But the closer I got to the car, the closer I got to going down. I slowed down, and when I heard the beep that I’d hit 9 miles, I thought I was going to be sick, or collapse. Seriously. I’ve never felt this bad after a run.
I forced myself to stretch before collapsing into my car. I sucked down hot water that had been sitting in my car. I wiped myself down, and drove off.
The best thing that happened to me today was getting the idea to get an Icee at the gas station. Ideal recovery drink, no. Perfect for today, absolutely!
In short, I wholeheartedly disagree with this as a Rave Run. There are so many trails on this mountain that are enjoyable and beautiful rather than badly paved and dodging cars. You cannot run to the falls, although its a fun hike, which is supposed to be the Rave part. I look forward to trying another Rave Run someday. But for now, I will sleep in my compression socks, drink until I turn into a water balloon, and prepare for another week of training.
Have you ever done a route someone suggested that you hated?
What’s the strangest thing you’ve eaten or drank within minutes of finishing a long run?
Have you ever run with a Camelback? If not, try it. It changed my life.