Sunday's perfect weather finally lured me out for a run on the Buckeye Trail. Everything was going fine until I puked.
Mrs. Viper had to work that day, and we didn't have anything in the pantry to make breakfast, so it was off to McDonald's for some McMuffins and hashbrowns. Less than an hour later, I dropped my wife off and headed to the trailhead, already having adorned my running gear.
My plan was to run north on the Buckeye from Jaite until it intersected with the Valley Bridle Trail near Brecksville and return on the horse path. I didn't really know how far that would be, but I guessed about five miles. I hadn't run since Oct. 24.
This section of the Buckeye Trail is a bit unfamiliar, having only run it once before — another instance of running farther than intended. This section is also rife with oddities and side attractions.
Just when nervousness was starting set in that the turn off for the bridle trail had slipped by unnoticed, the sound of motorcycles in distance quelled my anxiety. If the other trail didn't appear soon, I could just split off and bushwhack toward the road. But then it appeared.
The mud had made for a difficult run. The thrill of finding the Valley Bridle Trail quickened my pace. As the path winded toward the road and dropped into a the small valley of a stream bed before turning right back toward a steep hill, something suddenly lurched up inside me.
The tasted of bile filled my mouth. My throat choked it back. Yes, this was a perfect time to walk.
Stomach acid would sting my palate for the remainder of my run. No matter how much water I drank, the taste wouldn't go away. Perhaps McDonald's wasn't the best choice for a pre-run meal.
Atop a large hill on the way back, I could see the row of yellow houses at Jaite. These were company housing of the Jaite Paper Mill, but now are used as offices for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Just around the corner was where my car was parked.
This was the first time I'd run this section of the Valley Bridle Trail. I hoped it would deadhead toward the yellow houses, but as I descended the zenith, the path veered leftward. I should have known. The trail was heading toward the Towpath, where Jamoosh and I had made our turnaround during our run back in May.
Once the trail reached the road, about a half-mile from where those houses are, I had to backtrack toward my car.
What I thought would be about five miles turned out to be almost six. The taste of puke had finally dissipated. It felt good to have run again.