With my gels in my pocket and a cookie for the "road" I headed out and up the hill onto the red "loop." The Red loop at Mohican is actually part of one large loop that is half red and half green. Initially the red loop wasn't even a real trail. You just trekked up this large hill into the woods. If it weren't for Roy's markers I would have been clueless. We detoured around a group of downed trees and eventually found an actual trail to run on. We had a large group at this point with some Ultra veterans. It was fun listening to them all chat. Eventually we all chose our own paces. I pulled ahead with TC and Rob.
At some point Rob tied a shoe and then came blazing by us never to be seen again. He must have been feeling pretty good! TC and I took our time. At this point the goal was to just run steady and keep our spirits and energy high. TC just lost a kitty too so we talked about our cats and the new kittens and how hard it is to let go of one of your animals. I was worried we would both get emotional but I think it was good for both of us to air our feelings. Sometimes it takes getting it all out to really feel at peace with those types of decisions.
The red and green trails included a lot of bridle trail. We saw a ton of horses out on the course. One horse bucked their rider so we came upon a lady on horse following the horse that had jetted. We tried to help but the horse was not having any of it. We eventually found the bucked rider and she didn't seem to thrilled to see us. I found out later the horse had bucked her when a runner scared it. We felt bad but TC and I were very careful every time we came upon horses asking if we could pass and which side we should walk on. I don't want to mess around with an animal that large!
The trail on the red and green was pretty good footing. We traversed some (freezing cold) streams and got our feet quite muddy at points but for the most part we were able to run at a good pace. Lots of hills to walk up but we slowly made our way through the forest. I was surprised at how good I felt. Other than my hips being a little sore I was no worse for wear despite having been on my feet for quite some time. The weather was absolutely perfect. It got a little warm around 1 or 2 but then we would wind our way into the pines and the temperature would drop back down. TC and I just couldn't believe our luck with the weather. The day would have been a lot different if it had rained or been cold/hot. As it was though we were enjoying every minute of it.
Before finishing out the red loop we ran into a man with an ironman cap on asking us directions. I noted the ironman cap and wondered which race he had done and then looked closer and realized it was "Jetpack." I had followed his ironman journey on Zen and the Art so it was nice to meet him in person. We let him know Mike wasn't far behind us but that there was a large stream crossing about a mile back with a pile of mud and that he'd be better off waiting for him there than trying to cross it as he was in long pants.
We said our goodbyes and headed on our way to shortly afterwards reach a book and water stop. I had some pbj and refilled water. Took another trip to the ladies room. I think TC was laughing at me a bit as this was my third or fourth trip but hey at least I wasn't dehydrated. We made our way onto the the green loop and last stretch of the run.
At some point on the red we both just felt a little off so we had some crackers with peanut butter as we climbed yet another large hill. The crackers hit the spot and I felt better almost immediately. I was really happy I had not completely screwed my day by leaving half my food in the car.
For some reason I thought it would take us around 8-8 and a half hours to finish up but it ended up being a bit longer. We reached the fire tower around 8 and a half hours and I decided to climb it for the extra bonus 10 minutes if you cut a page from the book at the top. TC passed on the book and I told her I'd try to catch her before the finish. I decided it probably wouldn't be soon that I would be back at Mohican and that I would regret not climbing the tower if I didn't. Plus the fall foliage was amazing and I knew the view from the top would be incredible. It was well worth the climb despite being steep and a bit nerve wracking. It felt like the stairs would never end but eventually they did and I got my page and a few pictures before heading back down.
I blazed onto the trail and picked up the pace to try and catch TC. I couldn't believe how good I felt for being this far into the day. I only came to one confusing spot where I decided I better go straight despite no sign and luckily I chose correctly. It wasn't long before I heard "Hootie Hoo" from TC up ahead of me. I finally caught up beyond a big hill and we made our way to Covered Bridge. We still had a few big hills to climb and a few wooden bridges before we finally reached covered bridge. We met Roy there and we got some free goodies that Vertical Runner had donated. Then we made our way up the last 1 mile climb to sign in. So 9 and a half hours after we started we had covered 60K in the Mohican Forest.
I drove TC back down to her car at covered bridge and we shared some trail food with BC, Mike, and Kim. Mike, Kim, and I did a finish photo posing in our best Catra fashion. Then it was time to go eat and head home. I stopped at McDonald's for a burger, fries, and Sundae. It was all delicious! I had started the day driving in the dark and I ended it driving in the dark home. I woke up the next morning to surprisingly fresh legs but took Monday off. Was back at it Tuesday and have since gotten in a 20 mile trail run this weekend. Now I can finally taper for the 50 miler coming up on the 17th!