We ran up the road, our headlamps aglow. It was foggy and incredibly humid. The air was thick and the roots and rocks had that lovely slickness to them that happens in this type of weather when nothing seems to dry out. Val led the way as the four of us picked our way around the Scuffle course, chatting all along and trying to keep upright. I was soaked by the time we got back to the lot. So soggy! Out on the trail, in the dark, it seemed like we were flying, but of course, we weren't ;)
Then it was off to the west side for the Breaker. I have never professed any love for the Boundary trail but it is much easier running with friends and taking it easy to conserve energy for the miles ahead than racing it, that's for sure! As we neared the summit the first time around, we realized our timing was pretty good. It was a full moon, and the moon was setting on one side of the summit while the horizon was aglow with pinks and oranges on the other as the sun rose. Beautiful. And we even saw a peacock!?!
Random peacock on the summit
I was very thankful to get down to the parking lot at the end of loop #1, as I really needed that outhouse! Mindy decided to leave us at this point so Val, John and I continued on for loop #2. I ran out of water along the Tote, so was happy to have stashed a bag with an extra nalgene filled with water and a few more snacks. My bladder had been filled to the top at the start. It was so incredibly humid, I was drinking a ton of water! I had a few sips of coke too, and then we headed back to the east side.
Val needed to get to work so she was planning on doing her own thing for a few more miles, leaving John and I to navigate the Bruiser by ourselves. I was fairly sure I knew the course, but of course, that meant we did go astray once, doubling back to correct our mistake, and thereafter looked at the map at almost every intersection. HA! ;) We were able to pick up the pace a bit back on the east side now that it was light. I led through the Island, but then let John go ahead. I kept up, but remained a consistent amount behind ;) He has much longer legs!
I felt pretty good, despite having dirt and all sorts of leaf matter stuck to my legs, being followed by deer flies and feeling like I had taken a dip in a lake with my clothes on, but was beginning to tire. But I suppose that is the point?! Anyway, I always find the Bruiser to drag on and on, especially knowing the "O" is at the end. But finally, we reached it and plunged on in. Both of us were feeling the effects of 6 hours on technical trails in humid conditions. And wouldn't you know it? I drank up all 32 oz of water I had put in less than 2 hours prior. Good lord! Well, at least I knew the end was in sight, although there was a fair amount of cursing and moaning and groaning going on throughout the 2.25 mile intestine-like, technical weave that is the "O." And then, thank god! We were free!!
We picked up our stashed gear and headed over to the faucet outside the showerhouse in the campground. It felt incredibly good to clean off my legs and arms and splash water on my face. Ahhh... Of course, there was still 0.5 miles to run back to the car at Edna & Lucy's, and let me tell you, downhill on pavement doesn't feel so good after 28 miles/6:30 on the trails!!
But it was a great adventure, and darn, if we didn't earn that hoodie! :) Many thanks to John, Val and Mindy for joining in on the craziness. It was fun!
Final stats: 28.5 miles in 6:47 (6:16 moving time).
In full disclosure, after a small lunch I did go out and get this before returning home to clean the house and get ready for Irene and Dana's arrival:
And no, I am not sorry about it, at all ;)