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Returning to Mailbox
posted by John : April 28, 2011

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Since January, I've been fighting with my foot. My left foot. Specifically the plantar fascia. It started when I was tricked into wearing flimsy-soled shoes and I stepped on a rock while running the trail. Yes, I know. Running. Duh. What was I thinking?

Since then I've been nursing it a little, but generally getting out as normal. It seemed like it was getting better until something popped running across the street to catch a bus. After that it was generally a bucket of pain that either stabbed or ached, but never went away. Drugs, ice, stretching. Phaw. Nothing.

It got really bad after a trio of consecutive trips earlier this month. (Where's the third? It was just another trail run.) I decided I'd rest it since the next week was going to be Mt. Si. And then the week after got switched to be Mt. Washington so I skipped TNAB again and even went to see the doctor. Yeah. That's how bad it was.

More drugs, more exercises, x-rays. Nothing conclusive. Just me being a wuss.

So along comes Thursday night and I figure I'm gonna have to give it a go. It's been feeling pretty well for the last week and all indications are that the only thing that could go wrong would be wasting the last three weeks of inactivity.

The weather was actually remarkably decent for Mailbox. At least it wasn't raining. We started up at a traditional TNAB pace that after three weeks off seemed really fast. Eric, being the great guy he is, hung back with me. Treen, being the great dog she is also stayed around, but that might be because I had treats. Athena, being the great dog she is stayed around to make sure I didn't fall over. Even when Scott, lousy guy that he is, took off up the mountain. (No, I don't expect anyone to hike slow with me on TNAB. That's not the TNAB way.)

As we climbed from the mud into the frost, through the sleet and over the ice I sweated, slipped, felt dizzy, and leaden. Three weeks, apparently, is a long time to do nothing. And maybe tackling Mailbox as my first trip back wasn't the best of ideas.

Still, the snowy forest was pretty (far prettier than the usual Mailbox trip) and I never did actually fall down. Once we broke out of the trees I knew it wasn't far to go and I could actually make it. The goal was a sub two hour trip and we topped out at 1:55. (A far cry from the 1:38:56 from October of last year, but ok for winter. What do you mean it's not winter any more?)

We needed lights by the time we were in the trees and kept traction on our feet until well down the mountain to prevent too many unfortunate slides. Like all good trips, it ended at the Pour House where I had food practically waiting for me.

Hopefully, next week won't be so hard. Though it sounds like it'll be one of the longer trips of the season.

Standard Mailbox totals: 5.5 miles and 4,114 feet of gain.

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