Sunday, September 6, 2015


So, the training plan I'm following (or not following, as the case may be ;) ), calls for one last long-long run of 50 miles. The only 50 mile race around here that was even remotely in the right timeframe is the TARC Fall Classic next weekend, but to be honest, that seemed a bit too close to the 100. Plus, it is the Bruiser weekend. So, I decided I would run all three dirt courses plus a lap of the BBU course this weekend instead. It would come up short of 50 miles but the effort would be there, terrain would be comparable and 43 hard Bradbury miles should more than suffice to fulfill the requirements of that last long-long run.

Over the course of a message thread with Sean regarding the 100, I had mentioned my plan. He asked me to keep him in the loop, and I ended up including Val, Mindy and John too, hoping that I might get some company on all or part of the route. In the end, it never worked out to meet up with Val or Mindy, although we saw Val out on the trail several times. Sean met me at the Brad yesterday morning at 5:00 am. It was dark and cool, probably 52 or 53 degrees, and Orion's Belt shone brightly above us in the star-filled sky. We took off across the street for the Scuffle. Sean seemed content to keep the pace I set, which was great, as one of my main objectives for the run was to have it be MY run at my pace. It wasn't that I didn't want company or input, it was more that I wanted to be sure that it all worked for me since it was my one chance to get in the run, and get it right.

I tried to keep the pace comfortable but fairly effortless, and I think it worked. There was no tripping or falling in the dark, and our headlamps stayed on until about halfway down the snowmobile trail by which time there was enough light to see without. We saw several frogs and toads hopping off the trail in the darkness.

We ended up back at the lot with the Garmin showing somewhere around 1:13 or 1:14. I was desperate for the bathroom, so there was a brief stop before continuing onto the Breaker. The pace slowed a bit during these miles, as there was the inevitable hiking,walking thrown in on the hills but we tried to keep it steady. On the first loop, there was a neat undercast,mist,fog floating around the tops of the trees as we looked down into the valley at the summit. We also had a flyby from John B., who was doing his own run and was literally dancing down the trail, gone in a flash after a short conversation along the trail.

We finished up the Breaker to find John and Rick in the lot. John had planned to meet us for the Bruiser, and we had missed the 8:00 group by about 14 minutes. We stopped to refill our packs and use the bathrooms before heading out. John kept us amused during the Bruiser, telling stories and filling us in on his ES100 run. Although Sean and I had had some good conversations in the first miles, we also had some comfortable silence. I'm not sure there was any silence with John, but I wouldn't expect it any other way :) The weather was still holding nicely - it wasn't hot and there was none of the humidity that plagued John and my UXBBA run back in August. This made the O trail a bit more tolerable, although there was still plenty of cursing :)

I was supposed to text Ryan before heading out onto the Bruiser but completely forgot, remembering out in the middle of the trail, right around mile 20. I knew there'd be big trouble if I didn't get in touch, so I stopped and texted him right there. Response? "You're grounded." Ha. We all got a kick out of that. His plan was to meet John at the park with Sam, and then drive out to meet me at Lawrence Road for some of the BBU miles. John had nicely agreed to hang out with Sam so we could get in some miles together. What a guy! We are lucky to have him as a friend.

Back to the lot with the watch reading 5:55, about 50 minutes faster than last month's run of all three courses, and feeling good. But no Ryan. I texted to let him know we'd arrived, and they were just leaving the house. I don't think he had expected us back so soon. Mindy was there, having joined Val for some miles, as were Pete and the dogs, so John stayed with them, while Sean and I got ourselves organized for the BBU portion of the program. I'd been doing pretty well with the gels throughout, but was having trouble getting down the waffles and had only had one packet of chews. I did get through about 2/3 of a Fastbreak in the lot before the Bruiser, and found that the grapes I'd packed tasted delicious. None of the other dry food I had packed sounded appealing though.

Sean and I took off for the BBU, walking the Ski Trail hill this time, but running Krista's. I'm always surprised at how quickly the stretch between the park and Lawrence Road goes by - it really isn't that long, and I was relieved to see Ryan in the parking lot. I knew it would be close. I was also excited to see he had a bottle of coke for me. Yah! We stopped and waited for him to get ready and for me to drink some of the coke. It hit the spot. We took off up the road, Ryan by our side, nicely not pushing the pace, which I know was slow for him. Back at Lawrence Road, we stopped so I could drink some more coke. My stomach was feeling slightly off and the coke helped. Ryan offered to carry it back to the park for me, which was incredibly sweet. We also saw Billy coming across the road, and chatted with him a ways before he asked to join in with us. Sure! The more the merrier. He is a great guy and is planning to run the BBU 50, so we chatted about training, etc as we ran/hiked our way back to the park.

Running out to Lunchbreak, I took a huge digger, just before the hill up to the mossy open area before the descent. Ow. My calf cramped up as I tried to stop the fall and I sprawled to the ground, getting covered in dirt and gravel in the process. I felt a bit shaken up but OK aside from a scape on both knees and my left palm. We walked to the top of the hill where I took a salt tab and had some more coke. I was not eating anything at this point, although I had managed 2 gels earlier on the loop. I let Billy and Sean go ahead on the downhill; I just needed to take my time. We got back into "order" on the ascent, with me in the front, mostly walking the hill. No need to push ourselves too hard up that one at this point! Back to the summit and down the Terrace. Many more people out at this point. I am sure I looked a good wreck to most of them. HA!

Both Sean and I were out of fluids, so we stopped at the cars again to refill, and I tried to clean my hands off a bit with a few wipes. I forced down a gel, but would have preferred not to ;) John's car was in the lot, so we figured they'd already had lunch and were on the playground. Ryan texted to be sure things were going ok, and then nicely continued on with us to the east side so that we wouldn't get lost out there. I knew the way for the most part, but only in a vague way. I haven't run this portion of the course much. By this point, I was in no mood to take it easy, and wanted to get the run done. I was still feeling decent, if tired, and although we did take a few walk breaks here and there, we mostly ran and ran focused. We didn't manage to break 9:30 but came pretty close with the final time being 9:33, good for 42.3 miles on my Garmin. Sean's Garmin came in with higher mileage strangely, given that we have the same model, but whatever. I'll take it! It was a good confidence boosting run and I'm really happy with how it went mentally and physically, although I realize I am going to need to eat more in the 100. I think I did take in about 300 calories in coke in the final 10 miles though. HA!

Sean was a great partner out there, and I know he is going to do well in the 100. It was fun to work together on this run and we really are well matched running-wise. Hopefully we'll get some time on the trails together at TARC. Many thanks to John for running the Bruiser with us and then hanging out with Sam for the rest of the afternoon! Ryan and Billy rounded out the run by offering up some fun conversations and of course, navigational help :) All in all, a good day on the trails!

Ran into Val in the final mile, and captured our train in the woods :)

Chuggin' along

Watch shot :)

The UXBBASers. Done and done!

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