Runner’s World Rave Run: Peavine Falls, Pelham, AL. I call foul!

A few weeks ago I was reminded of Runner’s World’s Rave Runs, and resized that there was one from November 2012 less than 30 minutes from my apartment in Birmingham.

Oak Mountain is a well loved state park just outside of Birmingham. It’s got everything from golf, to a campground, to seemingly endless miles of biking, hiking, and equestrian trails. The park itself if gorgeous. Lakes and ponds for fishing, kayak rentals, even a beach, all nestled in a mountain, and for $3, you get access to it (rentals are more, but still, impressive).

Last weekend I intended to to the Peavine Falls run . I got lost, but had an amazingly fun run. I found a wonderful trail tucked in along a creek (the Red Trail), and even though it down poured, it was a great run. I got really tired in the last mile, so I didn’t go my full 7.5 miles that I had planned.

This week, I needed to do 9 miles, and decided the Rave Run was it. I had a rough week, so even though I knew it would be really hot, I waited until the afternoon to give my body some extra rest time. I even got myself a Camelback to eliminate my hand bottle issues, so I was ready to go.

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So I knew this was a mountain, and I ran on the terribly gravel paved road for a few miles last weekend, but forgot how bad it was. A few miles is one thing, but the hills were rough. I walked a good portion of the first 4 miles, running when it was a lower grade or slight downhill, and forcing myself to walk fast the rest of it, I reached a lookout point and stopped to snap some pics because it was gorgeous.

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I felt pretty good, which isn’t a surprise, I was walking a lot of it, but at this point, I had gone about 1000 ft up over the course of about 4 miles.

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A bit further up the road (yes, road, not trail. Terribly paved road) I finally hit the trail into the falls. I was in heaven. It was dirt with a lovely covering of trees. My legs were finally being treated well. And then I hit the “extremely difficult and dangerous” area. No possibly way to run, my Garmin lost its signal, but the scenery was wonderful. I followed a cute family down the rocks toward the falls.

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Down more rocks.

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And finally, the falls. Now, the falls aren’t usually great in the middle of summer unless its just rained. I hasn’t rained for a few days, so I was just happy any waters was coming down.

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Then I had to climb my way out. I didn’t think through this very well. It was hot, I was literally climbing rocks out of the gorge, and when I reached the top, I was beat. But I still had more than 3 miles to go.

So I took off. I ran as much down the 1200 feet descent as I could, found a trail near the bottom that would add some milage to hit my 9 and kept going. At this point I was starting to feel off. I couldn’t run, I could drink, I walked and when I got my head back, ran again. But the closer I got to the car, the closer I got to going down. I slowed down, and when I heard the beep that I’d hit 9 miles, I thought I was going to be sick, or collapse. Seriously. I’ve never felt this bad after a run.

I forced myself to stretch before collapsing into my car. I sucked down hot water that had been sitting in my car. I wiped myself down, and drove off.

The best thing that happened to me today was getting the idea to get an Icee at the gas station. Ideal recovery drink, no. Perfect for today, absolutely!

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In short, I wholeheartedly disagree with this as a Rave Run. There are so many trails on this mountain that are enjoyable and beautiful rather than badly paved and dodging cars. You cannot run to the falls, although its a fun hike, which is supposed to be the Rave part. I look forward to trying another Rave Run someday. But for now, I will sleep in my compression socks, drink until I turn into a water balloon, and prepare for another week of training.

Have you ever done a route someone suggested that you hated?
What’s the strangest thing you’ve eaten or drank within minutes of finishing a long run?
Have you ever run with a Camelback? If not, try it. It changed my life.

8 thoughts on “Runner’s World Rave Run: Peavine Falls, Pelham, AL. I call foul!

  1. Glad that you posted this and “saved” others of us here in AL who might try it out! I’m new to trail running but several Oak Mountain trails have been recommended to me. This sounds away more like a “hike” than run!!!

  2. It stinks that this wasn’t as fun as you hoped it would be! I have never run on a trail but I have hiked many (Yellowstone, Acadia, Grand Canyon) and always bring my Camelback with me (lifesaver!). I admire you going out on the trail alone, I don’t think I would have that in me. Maybe we can do a trail run in the fall?! πŸ™‚
    Karen @cinderella_runs

    • Yes, we must do a trail run this fall! And then drink wine or hard cider (random fact: I really dislike beer).

      And now that you say it, trail run on my own, probably one of the least safe ideas I’ve ever had. I’m too independent for my own good, one of these days it will bite me in the @$$!

    • Thanks! The road was just miserable, I’d have rather it actually been gravel, rather than the strange rock studded pavement. I could have survived the elevation, but the road and climbing the rocks just tore my legs up. Thankfully, compression socks brought them back to life πŸ™‚

    • That sounds great, tough but great. I love Acadia. I grew up going there, although my family wasn’t into running or hiking so I feel like I need to go back as an adult.

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