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In Like A Lion

In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb 

March roars in like a lion
So fierce,
The wind so cold,
It seems to pierce.
The month rolls on
And Spring draws near,
And March goes out
Like a lamb so dear.
~ Lorie Hill

It isn't yet March, despite recent spring-like temperatures in the Mid-Atlantic area that suggest otherwise. And on the last Saturday in February, Winter made one last valiant effort to assert itself, giving us a day that felt distinctively like blustery March. Anyone who was outdoors that day would agree it roared like a lion. 

The wind was the story of the day -- sustained and gusty, featuring headwinds, crosswinds and tailwinds. There were clouds, some warming sun, and even brief snow flurries.

I was certain I had overdressed and expected to peel off my gloves, hat and lightweight shell as soon as I warmed up. Turns out I needed them all day. I gave the zipper on my shell quite a workout in sunny sections which were sheltered from the wind, but I never removed it. 

Thankfully, there were no icy sections on the course this year, but some impressive shoe-sucking mud and frigid stream crossings kept it interesting. The trees groaned and creaked in the wind but it seemed all the tree limbs that were going to fall had already come down. Of course there were the hills, nothing too steep or long but good for a total of 4,000 feet of elevation gain and loss.

Runner enjoying a sweet downhill. Photo by Alan Gowen.

I must take a moment to praise the amazing volunteers who stood out there in that cold and wind to offer us hot food and cheer us on. Saints, all of them.

I took the first loop nice and easy, chatting with friends and new acquaintances along the way. On the second loop, I wanted some time to myself on the trail. It was a good decision. I needed to set my own pace, push up the hills and pay attention to what I needed to do to keep myself fueled and my thoughts straight.

Ever heard the statistic that most automobile accidents occur within a few miles of your home? I caught my toe on the smallest tree root on the course and sprawled all out -- in the last hundred yards of the trail, naturally. Pick up those feet! 

Typical trail section at Hashawha. Photo by Alan Gowen.

All in all, I had a good day out there. I set a new PR by almost 40 minutes as a result of both the course conditions and my body being in better shape this year. 

I feel like I'm back in the swing of my trail running. It's a good place to be.


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