It is 44 degrees on a random Tuesday in November and I don’t have work. I’m out the door before 7AM and there would naturally only be one possible explanation for this, it’s run time.
I jump in the car and head the 10 minutes down the road to hit my home trail up, West Tyson park also known as the Chubb trail. Its a murky day, being just two days after the time adjustment the light at 7am in surprisingly abundant, an overcast layer hangs low and there is a dampness in the air, not so much that it is about to rain, but more so that the forest has accepted that rain is on the way.
If you have ever hit up the trails of the midwest, you know what I’m going to say before I say it. Nothing is flat, and everything is rocky, branchy, and generally ugh. That is part of the beauty obviously, it makes you pick your feet up. Chubb, is no different. The short loop which is only 3.6 miles, took me three tries to even complete in the dark (which is when I was running it before work), I got lost a few times and I was new.
First miles equal pretty much one long hill that gets you to a pretty great vantage point with a bench. You know for tricep dips, because you’re a beast
When I first came out here I was running with a head lamp and literally every step i felt I might break my everything, like the whole way up the massive 200+ feet of gain (don’t worry i brought supplemental oxygen). But today is the second day I’m running this thing in the light and I had just run a 20K with some buds on Sunday. I don’t feel so much like i am going to break my everything, but I do feel like running anything more than three minutes is far too much
Jeff and I got a pretty big run coming up so I know bowing out would be embarrassing, but also, completely underproductive for a full day off from work. I find the courage to press on, the trail itself is spotty wet, leaves are everywhere and rocks are constantly welcoming the toe box of my shoes. The Chubb is a cool trail you start by running through kind of a rocky, dried up, miniature canyon. You duck under some trees, do the tiniest bit of scrambling, and then you run uphill for the next mile and a half.
It’s an amazing thing, the midwest that is, because it’s awesomeness is in its accessibility and constant challenge.
This mile and change for me, is almost identical to so many spots that have absolutely murdered me on the Mark Twain Trail, home of my first 100 attempt and my first DNF. I remember thinking coming into mile 50 of the 2015 Mark Twain 100, well I could walk the whole way and still make the cut off. But the trail and it’s roots and rocks had infiltrated my mind and wrapped up my confidence. Now on the Chubb, I get to practice those loops, practice those stones, practice my thinking. Make my fears my strengths. And you know other motivational metaphysical stuff.
The Chubb is now my go to run, I hit it up 3 to 4 times a week. I’m reminded of a Salomon Trail Running video I watched a few years back about a pro trail running couple that chose to give live up in the hills with their little one and run around their house. The wife/mother talked about how the trail is never really the same, that when you become accustomed to the surroundings you notice the small differences in the leaves and the misplacement of pebbles. I really look forward to feeling like that over here at my new haunts, I’m also pumped that there is like 10 more miles I haven’t run at all.
If you think this trail is the jam, come on out and run it. It is Missouri technical, which if I need to explain I’m not sure how you got this far, and is fairly open on the weekdays with hiking traffic picking up on the weekends. Everyone I’ve run into is super cool, and yes you will see tons of deer. The St.Louis Ultraruners Group put on a race here in the spring and if Jeff doesn’t convince me to do like 3 more ultra’s next year, I’ll probably see you there, at least at an aid station. E