First things first, photos of the stroller are finally up!! Big thanks to Jeffrey Hains!
I had quite the eventful run this morning. When I checked the weather to see what I should wear, there was a tornado warning issued for the city of Richmond. I thought, “hmm, this should be interesting” and headed out the door in shorts and a tank top — 75 degrees at 7:30!! Running across Nickel Bridge, I was greeted by every spider in the city of Richmond, weaving their webs along the railings, confused by the warm weather. On the south side of the bridge, I ducked down onto Buttermilk Trail, where things got really interesting. It was just like stumbling into a jungle, fog floating in and around the bends in the trail, and branches strewn across the rocks everywhere. I had been asleep by 9 pm the night before, and apparently I had missed quite a rainstorm.
Buttermilk Trail winds, dips, and climbs along the woods just below Riverside Drive, and has a lot of steep embankments, rocky passages, bridges, and streams. It’s one of my favorite places to run, anywhere. This morning, everything was slick. I was side-stepping fallen branches, hopping over roots, and slowly crouch-walking down the slick rocks. It was exciting, but a bit tedious here and there. I must have turned my ankles 5 or 6 times, but luckily nothing serious. Just some loud cursing at myself.
I was in one relatively flat stretch, absent of any big rocks, cruising along, when I nearly stepped on a bright orange turtle, resting square in the middle of the path. I stopped and stared at it for a bit til I finally hopped over it and continued on my way. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be the only reptile I’d run into.
I hate to admit it, but besides wanting to trail on pavement, another big reason that I cut way way back on trail running this summer was because I was afraid of running into a Copperhead snake, Richmond’s lovely poisonous snake that loves to hang around in the trails by the river. The summer before last, I nearly stepped on one laying flat across a trail out by Pony Pastures – as I flew over it in fright, I realized it was dead, but I was still scared out of my mind. And at that point I didn’t even realize it was a poisonous snake. I would find that out a few miles down the trail, when I ran into an ambulance blocking my way across to Belle Isle. They explained they were on their way to help someone who had just gotten bit by a Copperhead on a trail nearby. I described the snake I had just seen, which matched the description of a Copperhead, and which, they told me, was poisonous and bites easily. So I obviously felt great. Then, this past summer, I again nearly stepped on one laid out in the middle of the trail, also dead. I took it as a nice warning that I was flirting with danger, and decided to skip on the trails for a while.
So, this morning, October 27th, 4 days away from November, what do I come across on the Buttermilk Trail? A LIVE Copperhead. How close do I come? Close enough to scream like a big sissy. I backed away slowly, slowly, until I was running away from the snake, back in the direction I came. A half-mile later I climbed through a clearing in the trail out onto Riverside Drive. I finished up my run and went home, only to later complete my afternoon run minutes before another crazy storm front moved through the area, with gusts of wind up to 42 mph. Crazy day indeed.
PS: for everyone who agrees too readily that I am a big wimp: “A Copperhead snake bite needs medical attention, is extremely painful, and may cause extensive scarring and loss of use. Many people are bitten while trying to kill or handle the snake. Don’t take chances — avoid these snakes.” (http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/gaston/Pests/reptiles/copperhead.htm)
It might not kill me, but I’m not sure it will make me stronger either.